Actions
Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Massa the Gorillas in:
 • Philadelphia Zoological Garden
 • Philadelphia
 • Philadelphia County
 • Pennsylvania
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Massa the Gorilla
Birth: 1930, Ghana
Death: Dec. 30, 1984
Philadelphia
Philadelphia County
Pennsylvania, USA

Famous Animal. At 54, he was captivities longest living lowland gorilla. Born in West Africa he was shipped to the United States as an infant and raised by a wealthy Brooklyn eccentric named Gertrude Lintz. She raised and cared for Massa for the next four years. The 1997 movie "Buddy" was based on the real life Massa. In 1935 Massa was donated and moved to America's oldest zoo, the Philadelphia Zoological Garden, he had become too large and dangerous to remain in a domestic environment. In a show of his strength during the mid 1950s while being fed he ripped off an arm of his everyday handler. Well into the twentieth century a zoo exhibited many animals including gorillas in small, iron-barred, concrete-floored cells. In this solitary environment Massa lived for 50 years. In his prime he weighed 400 pounds (180 kilos) and had the strength of at least 16 men. On December 30, 1984, the Philadelphia Zoo helded a birthday party for the now balding, greying and weight losing Massa. He was fed a special diet (vitamins, vegetables and fruit) cake while a dixieland band played songs like 'Aba Dabba Honeymoon' at his party in the primate house. That night during his sleep Massa died of a stroke. A postmortem examination revealed that he had suffered two recent heart attacks. 
 
Burial:
Philadelphia Zoological Garden
Philadelphia
Philadelphia County
Pennsylvania, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Paul Theodore Riegert
Record added: Apr 03, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 8595720
Massa the Gorilla
Added by: Ron Moody
 
Massa the Gorilla
Added by: Paul Theodore Riegert
 
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.


- sniksnak
 Added: Jun. 11, 2014
As a youngster in Delaware, we would visit the zoo and you were there. What a wonderful site to see. Now rest in peace with all wildlife, Massa.
- Sherlocks Cousin
 Added: May. 10, 2014
I came to see you EVERY SATURDAY at the Philly ZOO! At that time it was safe, and I would sit there for hours watching everything you did..there is NO replacement on earth that can compare to how many hours of joy and amazement you gave me. YOU WERE MY CH...(Read more)
- gennie
 Added: May. 6, 2014
There are 213 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
Do you have a photo to add? Click here
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.2 after 63 votes)
 

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service