A fan of Daktari came upon this site and saw the German article on Cheryl Miller. A German speaker, this fan took the time to translate the article so we can all read it for the first time.
Thank you Lutz; that was such a generous thing to do and we are all grateful!
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FREIZEIT REVUE 11/2012: Celebrities at home – Cheryl Miller
Daktari’s Paula Moonstruck by Wild Animals to This Very Day
FREIZEIT REVUE visited the former actress in her native Arizona (USA). She told us, how she lives today, and how dangerous the shootings were in those days. And what blows of fate she had to cope with afterwards.
[Caption, Big Picture] Daktari-Star Cheryl Miller loves animals — equally behind the camera. To the right [small inset]: She’s fond of this lama-foal.
[Caption, left Inset 1] In 1966, with the cross-eyed lion Clarence: “That was a really dear one.”
[Caption, left Inset 2] Fond of animals: Jack Dane (Yale Summers, left), Dr. Marsh Tracy (Marshall Thompson) and his daughter Paula (Cheryl Miller).
[Caption, left Inset 3] The “Daktari” Crew with Chimp Judy. “She constantly kissed me on the lips,” the former actress told us.
[Caption, inset top left] Tenderly she feeds a young giraffe. The animal is trustful right away.
[Caption, inset top right] Only occasionally Cheryl sits leisurely at home. She’s into sports, visits the opera, exhibitions, or the theater.
[Caption, small inset to the right] The former actress has got things straightened out with herself. “I’m doing fine,” she says.
[Caption bottom, left] The secret of her vivid complexion: “I wash my face with water and baby oil exclusively.”
[Caption bottom, right] Curious for life: “I want to learn something new constantly,” Cheryl says, laughing.
Tenderly Chimp-Lady Judy presses her a kiss on the mouth. Cheryl Miller laughs — without noticing the leopard, who is stalking her from the rear. He’s preying on the Chimpanzee, but suddenly changes target. Out of a sudden the wild animal pounces on Cheryl, presses her to the ground severely. It takes three men to intervene, pull the big cat away from her. Shocked the rescuers gaze at the victim, looking for injuries.
“I Fought a Crocodile”
“But I took a few bruises”, Cheryl remembers. “And wetted my pants out of fear.” It’s now fourty years since the shooting of Daktari took place. And nowadays “Paula” can laugh about it. To find out, how she’s doing today, FREIZEIT REVUE-reporter Simone Vollmer travelled to Cheryl’s home state of Arizona (USA). There the former actress told her about another thrilling Daktari-anecdote: “I had to fight a crocodile under water with a plastic-knife. Its jaws were tightly shut with a wire. It tumbled me over three times. That wasn’t funny.”
But Cheryl even today cherishes a heart for wild animals. Affectionate she feeds a giraffe. Astonishing-in her presence the majestic giant turns tame. Nothing new for Cheryl. “Clarence, the cross-eyed lion, liked me. Suprisingly nearly all big cats were comfortable in my presence. They put their head in my lap and clung to me.”
“My time with Daktari was wonderful”, Cheryl relates wistfully – completely to the contrary to what happened afterwards. “A soap-opera and some fair to middling flickers.” Eventually she gave up on acting. “I had earned enough money. I wanted to concentrate purely on my family. My children (son Eric (31), stepsons Ronn (45) and Robb (43)-editor’s note) shouldn’t get the feeling that their mother was something special.”
“The heart – my ideal man died”
Cheryl had no luck with love. In 1968 she got married for the first time. The marriage failed after only two months. The second marriage too, with a businessman, broke up after a few years. Only with Robert Kasselmann (died with 68) had fortune smiled on her. “He was my ideal man,” she fancies. “Our marriage lasted for twenty years. But seven years ago, he died of a rare heart disease.” Both didn’t believe in the chances of healing. “We handled his outlook realistically,” she confesses.
An experience that Cheryl helps today. She works with incurable children in a church community. “This can be rough but fulfilling at the same time.” On her own, but not lonely. That’s the way Cheryl lives today. She has many friends, who accompany her to the theater. And sports play a big role in her life. Cheryl even takes part in the senior citizen Olympics. “I can handle bows and arrows, I swim, I ski.” And at times she’s even attracted to wild animals again. “My memories of Daktari are as vivid then, as if it were only yesterday.”