Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:08pm EST
(Reuters) - Pat Derby
, a show business animal trainer who worked on the television programs "Flipper" and "Lassie" before becoming an animal rights activist, has died of throat cancer, her organization said.
Derby, 69, worked on other television shows, including "Gunsmoke" and "Daktari", according to the Performing Animal Welfare Society or PAWS. She was the trainer and spokesperson for the Lincoln Mercury "Sign of the Cat" cougars Chauncey and Christopher, featured in ads.
Those were among the memorable TV shows and ads of the 1960s and '70s, along with "Flipper", starring a bottlenose dolphin from 1964 to 1967, and "Lassie", starring a series of collie dogs from 1954 to 1974.
Along with her longtime partner Ed Stewart, Derby founded PAWS in 1984 to rescue and provide humane sanctuary for animals from the exotic and performing animal trades.