TOP DOG AT THE MOVIES

Published on: July 19, 2002

The summer's biggest movie star weighs only 16 pounds, wears mascara and drinks only bottled water when he travels: Meet Frank, the dog from the blockbuster "Men in Black II."

Frank, whose real name is Mushu, is a 7-year-old pug who steals scene after scene by portraying a womanizing doggy alien who helps stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones save the world from evil extraterrestrials.

And the dog was one of the best values in Hollywood history, according to owner Cheryl Shawver, of the Animal Actors of Hollywood ranch in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

"I had to find a pug for the original 'Men in Black,' saw an ad in the paper, and bought Mushu for just a few hundred dollars," she told The ENQUIRER.

"His trainer, Cristie Miele trained him from scratch in three months. He was only in the first 'MIB' for about 90 seconds but everyone thought he was hilarious.

"Mushu has a whole bag of tricks. He can open his mouth but stay silent when you say 'Talk' -- and he can bark when you say 'Speak.' He can push an object with his nose, put his head down and up, pick up and put down an object, and lift any leg you tell him!

"And most important for any actor, he always hits his mark."

Since the original "MIB," Mushu has become Hollywood's top dog, though he now must wear mascara on his muzzle to hide the fact that he's going gray!

"He's been at all the 'MIB II' premieres," says Shawver. "He trots proudly down the red carpet with the actors!

"He travels by crate in Business Class with Cristie. He goes under the seat. He stays in the hotel room with her, sleeps on her bed. She orders his meals from room service -- steak, chicken.

"He drinks only bottled water when he's on the road. He's a VIP!" How much is he worth, $50,000? $100,000?

"When he's not working he's worth as much as the next moviemaker is going to pay him," says Shawver.

"But to me he's priceless!"