ThunderCat Interviews: Tygra
By Bill Taylor
Entertainment Tonight's continued interviews with the Thundercats. Next:
Tygra's Drug addiction.
Date of birth: December 2, 1959
Place of birth: Baltimore, Maryland
Weight: 225 pounds
Tygra: By the time I was cast in Thundercats, my career was not doing too
well. Either I had only managed a few bit parts, or I had made appearances
as characters who were usually cut from the final product. I took the job
out of desperation, because even though it seemed incredibly silly, I
needed work and money, fast. I had no idea that it would bring me over
night fame and fortune.
No one knew this thing was going to be a hit. We all had our eyes open for
other parts in case this thing sank, and we were all keeping a close eye on
our bank accounts. When this show became an afternoon, after school hit, we
were on top of the world. We had promotional deals hitting us every which
way: T-shirts, toys, sneakers, comic books, the whole nine yards.
Unfortunately, it all nearly killed me.
I was hooked on heroine for a long time, long before Thundercats and
eventually during. When we did the show were I got addicted to the keystone
of power, I felt like I was living out my real life self, and that scared
the Hell out of me. Heroine is used by those addicted to it as a way to
numb the pain of reality and rejection. In my case, I was using it because
my early career was bombing and I was going nowhere fast. There were a few
points where I thought "Ah, this is it," and then nothing happened. When I
did Thundercats, the pressure of fame replaced the pressure of failure and
I was now using heroine to get my mind off the pressure of this new found
fame. You feel like you've got to live up to what people want you to be,
and you put yourself through Hell to live up to your image. After that, you
start looking for a way to relieve the strain Cheetara was having a similar
problem, which turned her to use beer to forget about things for a while.
It also brought us together for awhile, since we had the shared problem of
dealing with fame. We both forced ourselves to give up our addictions, but
I had a harder time giving up heroine than Cheetara did giving up beer.
When year four appeared, I worked out a deal to do only a few, cameo
appearances residing on Third Earth. I wanted time off to break my drug
addiction and get my priorities straight. It was a tough decision, but it
had to be made. I can't go back and change the past, so all I can do now is
FACTS: Tygra was the youngest of four children in a six tiger family in
Baltimore Maryland. His older brother was the late Tony the Tiger, original
mascot for Kellogg Frosted Flakes. When Tony died of lung cancer in 1977,
Tygra was offered to replace his brother, but turned it down and instead
persuaded them to take his nephew, Tony's son, Tony the Tiger Jr. Tygra was
interested in an acting career however, so he set out to find fame and
fortune. After many small parts and failed TV shows and films, Tygra found
fame and fortune on "Thundercats". During the show's second year, Tygra got
into hot water news when it came out that he and co-star Cheetara were
having an on set romance. Though originally little more than tabloid
reports, both cats came out publically and admitted it was true and said
"If they don't like it, tough."
When reports continued with stating that they were drawn to each other
because of their addictions to alcohol and heroine, the couple sued for
invasion of privacy and the court ruled in their favor. Cheetara stayed by
Tygra after he left Thundercats to break his drug addiction and they
married after wards and have one son, Gabriel. They currently reside in
Tygra is currently an unbilled producer for many of CBS's shows and owner
of the SCI-FI channel.
Still to come: Cheetara's alcoholism, bitter contract battles; off screen
love affairs; the tragic death of Lion-o.
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