Budgies and Celebrities

mmMarilyn Monroe had two parakeets, Butch and Bobo. Norman Rosten (Marilyn: The Untold Story) wrote about Butch: “Marilyn calls to him; he sits on her shoulder, she coos and whistles, carries him to her lips, and ole Butch leans over and kisses her. ‘You’re a cute parakeet,’ Marilyn says to Butch. Butch loves to hear her voice, figuring she’s just as cute as a parakeet herself. I believe that Butch is in love with her.”

*I couldn’t find a photo of Marilyn with a budgie, so these photos by Cecil Beaton will have to do.

Budgies and Celebrities

CHURCHILL20090205011_a* I couldn’t find a photo of Winston Churchill with his budgie, so this will have to do.

Churchill had many animals, including budgies. One budgie named Toby, was often seen perching on Churchill’s head while he wrote his memoirs.silver-spoons_3136936cThere is this from Alistair Lexden:
Dear Sir
It was not only at meal times that Churchill’s budgie Toby left his mark (“Entertainer Churchill’s dinner table budgie trick”, Dec.13).

This much loved creature slept in a special cage in Churchill’s bedroom during his peace-time premiership in the 1950s. The cage was opened when ministers gathered for matutinal confabulations before the great man got up. In his diary, Churchill’s Private Secretary, Anthony Montague Browne, gives an affectionate account of Toby “ flying round the room ,pecking at Cabinet papers, taking nips from the whisky-and-soda at the Prime Minister’s bedside and settling upon the domed head of the Chancellor of the Exchequer with the inevitable consequences”.

Rab Butler came to these meetings with a special silk handkerchief which he used to mop up after Toby, murmuring “The things I do for England”. From his master Toby received only kisses, never rebukes.

Yours faithfully
Lord Lexden
London SW1

Toby was allowed to peck at Churchill’s cigar and play on the dining room table. He was  taught to carry a salt spoon, and tip over the salt – a trick which delighted his grandchildren. Toby joined Churchill on a holiday to Nice and to Monaco. He was free to fly around the suites, but unfortunately, flew out the window. Gardeners searched in vain, and some came with budgies for the offered reward, but none were Toby.
news-graphics-2006-_629876aIn his final years, Churchill gave his nurse notes on his daily routine – which included how to care for his budgie. “Whisky and soda, specs, cards; bird to be brought into dining room near his chair. Tweeds; hanky in top pocket; boiler suit — slippers” and “after dinner… put bird to bed!!”