He found his fame on TV before breaking into film. Higgins — a poodle/cocker spaniel/schnauzer mix — was simply “Dog” on several seasons of Petticoat Junction. He was pretty old by the time a director chose to cast him as the star of his own film, 1974’s Benji. Sort of a low-budget Lassie, Benji helps free a pair of kidnapped kids. Higgins’ female offspring, Benjean, went on to play the character in 1977’s For the Love of Benji.
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