‘Friends’: Is Marcel the Monkey Still Alive?

Few TV shows are as beloved as Friends. The series debuted in 1994 and ran for 10 seasons, hosting a staggering list of guest stars, including Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, and Paul Rudd, some of whom played recurring characters. Another recurring character was Marcel the monkey. After all these years, is the animal actor that played Marcel the monkey still alive?

Marcel the monkey appeared in ‘Friends’ Seasons 1 and 2

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‘Friends’: Katie the monkey, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, and Courteney Cox | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Friends introduced Marcel in the show’s first season. In episode 10, “The One with the Monkey,” Ross (David Schwimmer) arrives at Monica’s (Courteney Cox) apartment with Marcel on his shoulder. Ross says Marcel has been rescued from a lab and adopts the monkey. After seven episodes, the storyline ends when Ross takes Marcel to the vet and discovers the monkey has reached sexual maturity, so he has to give him up. 

Marcel appears again briefly in Friends Season 2 in the two-part episode “The One After the Superbowl,” when Ross visits Marcel on the set of a major Hollywood movie. 

Is the animal actor that played Marcel the monkey dead?

Two monkeys — named Monkey and Katie — played Marcel on Friends. Only Katie is still alive, BuzzFeed reports. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Katie is a female capuchin monkey. Capuchins have a life expectancy of about 40 years, and Katie is in her late twenties or early thirties (meaning she was only 1 or 2 years old when she appeared on Friends). 

Katie has been acting most of her life and even has an IMDb page. In addition to appearing on Friends, Katie has been in The Loop, 30 Rock, and, most recently, Sam & Cat. Katie was also supposed to appear as a monkey named Ampersand in the 2021 FX series Y: The Last Man with Diane Lane, but the show reportedly cut the animal’s role after taking on a new showrunner.

David Schwimmer did not like working with Marcel on ‘Friends’

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Interestingly, although Ross and Marcel were pals onscreen, Friends star David Schwimmer did not like working with the monkey. Asked about his experience with Katie during 2021’s Friends: The Reunion, Schwimmer told host James Cordon: “What inevitably began to happen was we would all have choreographed bits kind of timed out, and it would get messed up because the monkey didn’t do its job right.”

But Schwimmer’s complaints weren’t limited to the monkey’s performance. The actor added, “So the monkey would be sitting on my shoulder, take some grubs, break them in half — the squirming live grub. They ate it, and then it would just go like that [putting his hands on his face].” A visibly perturbed Schwimmer concluded that before the monkey was written off the show, “it was time for Marcel … you know, f*** off.”

Responding to Schwimmer’s comments, the animal’s trainer, Mike Morris, defended Katie, claiming Schwimmer was the problem. “Schwimmer was fine with the monkeys for the first couple of episodes and happy to be there,” Morris toldh The Sun. “But people would laugh at the monkey, and I think he got jealous because it wasn’t him getting the laughs. He seemed to get a little bitter about them being there after that.”

Whatever happened behind the scenes, BuzzFeed ranks “The One with the Monkey” as one of the top Friends episodes of all time.