Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: Burbank HomeCollections

'Benji' trainer dies at 86

August 03, 2002

Amber Willard

Frank Inn might not have lived in Burbank, but he certainly helped

put the city on the map when he rescued a scruffy puppy from the

Burbank Animal Shelter. The mutt went on to star as Benji in several

films.

Inn died July 27 at a nursing home in Sylmar. He was 86.

Inn did not take in Higgins, who later became Benji, with the

Advertisement

thought of making him a star. The poodle-terrier- cocker spaniel mix

was the last of a litter dropped off at the shelter in 1960 and would

have been put to sleep if Inn had not taken him in. A few years

before, Inn started his own animal training business and a filmmaker

visiting Inn's ranch saw Higgins and knew he had found the right dog

for the job.

"Higgins was an all-Amer- ican cross between Burbank and

Hollywood," Inn said in an interview a year ago with the Leader. At

the time, Inn was searching for a new Benji for a Christmas-themed

film.

Inn was born in Canby, Ind., and made his way to California by

working odd jobs along the way, including one as a circus clown. Inn

was a lifelong member of the Burbank chapter of the Full Gospel

Business Men's Fellowship. Inn is survived by two daughters, Kathleen

Hees and Lori Grajeda; two grand- children; and two great-

grandchildren.

His viewing will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Noble Mortuary,

1231 First St. in San Fernando. A memorial service is scheduled for

10 a.m. Monday at Shepherd of the Hills Church, 19700 Rinaldi St. in

Northridge. Internment will follow at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills. A

reception will follow at Inn's home, 14580 Bledsoe St. in Sylmar.

Burbank Leader Articles Burbank Leader Articles
|
|
|