Saturday, January 30, 2010

King Charles aka The Pie

King Charles starred as The Pie in the 1944 film National Velvet starring Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney.

King Charles was a seven year old thoroughbred, a red sorrel with a white stripe on his face and white socks in all for feet.

The Rivera Country Club in West Los Angeles, California was where King Charles and Elizabeth Taylor first met. This horse was owned by a society woman and trained as a show hunter and jumper (he could jump over automobiles). The owner offered King Charles for Elizabeth to ride and she grew fond of the horse and eventually became the equine star of the National Velvet movie. King Charles was purchased for $800 for the movie.

Eleven year old Elizabeth Taylor underwent a rigorous training program with horseback riding lessons, riding him 90 mintutes a day, and feeding him at the instruction of Riviera Country Club and Dupee Stables in Hollywood.

A special bond between Elizabeth Taylor and King Charles was evident to everyone on the set. King Charles had a tendency to bite cast and crew. In fact, he once took a hunk of shoulder from the man who tried to train him to play dead for the film.

On the set, Elizabeth Taylor was the only star he cooperated with.

After shooting of the film completed, Elizabeth Taylor learned on her 13th birthday, that King Charles was now her horse.

King Charles was the grandson of the champion racehorse Man o' War who is considered one of the greatest thoroughbred racehorses of all time winning the
Preakness Stakes (1920) and Belmont Stakes (1920).

After National Velvet, King Charles retired and spent the remainder of his life with his new owner, Elizabeth Taylor.

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