Leo, one of the feline stars of Pet Sematary, has sadly passed away just a few weeks after the horror film was released. Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, Pet Sematary was previously adapted for the big screen in 1989 and tells the terrifying tale of a family man struck by tragedy who turns to an ancient burial ground to resurrect his dead family members. Helmed by directing duo Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes, Holidays), the new Pet Sematary stars Jason Clarke (First Man, Mudbound), Amy Seimetz (Alien: Covenant, Atlanta) and John Lithgow (Interstellar, Daddy’s Home 2). And Leo the cat, of course, as Church - the family pet who meets a sticky end before being resurrected as an undead evil incarnation of himself.
There are many differences between the original Pet Sematary adaptation and the latest movie and that extends to the movies’ feline stars too. In the 1989 film, Church was played by a grey furred British short hair whereas the late Leo was a majestic Maine Coon cat. In the 2019 movie, Church also got a lot more screen time than his 1989 counterpart did and the general consensus is that the new Church is the more formidable and frightening of the two.
Unfortunately, any glittering film career that may have been in store for Leo has sadly been cut short after his trainer Kirk Jarrett announced via the feline star’s own Instagram account Church aka Leo that he had sadly passed away. Jarret, who adopted Leo shortly after they had finished filming Pet Sematary, accompanied the announcement with a sweet tribute to the kitty that read:
“It is with deep sadness that we tell you that Leo has passed away. He will be forever missed by his human and fur family. May his star always shine bright!!”
The role of Church in the new Pet Sematary was actually played by four different Maine Coon cats - Leo, JD (who Jarrett also adopted), Tonic and Jager - though it’s probably Leo who will be best remembered. According to Jarret, it was Leo that played the bulk of undead Church. Describing Leo as the “poster child” for Pet Sematary, Jarrett stated in an earlier interview that most times Church appeared on screen as his unkempt and ferocious undead alter ego, that cat was Leo.
Jarrett used Leo’s Instagram to keep his fans up to date with the Pet Sematary star and previously posted pictures of Leo attending screenings in a cat-sized tuxedo where the cat seemed to be enjoying his newfound fame. He did not mention the cause of Leo’s death. Rest in peace, Leo.
Source: Church aka Leo/Instagram