In “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) is shown doting on his many cats and even talking to them on the phone. One even runs across the piano!
- Longtime assistant Peter Freestone, who consulted on the film but hadn’t seen the final cut yet, told The Washington Post, “His cats were his family.”
An early scene in the film shows six cats, but Freestone recalled at least 10 of Mercury’s cats by name: Dorothy, Tiffany, Tom, Jerry, Delilah, Goliath, Lily, Miko, Oscar and Romeo, the last six of whom outlived their owner.
Mercury shared Tom and Jerry with Mary Austin, played in the film by Lucy Boynton. She gave him Tiffany, the only thoroughbred cat he ever had, according to Freestone. The rest were adopted from shelters or animal hospitals “to save their lives, basically,” Freestone explained to the Post.
Per Bustle, in his now out-of-print 1998 memoir “Mister Mercury,” Freestone wrote about Mercury checking in with his cats: “He’d get to a hotel, we’d dial through and he really would talk to his cats,” writes Freestone. “Mary [Austin] would hold Tom and Jerry in turn up to the receiver to listen to Freddie talking. This continued throughout the years with succeeding feline occupants of his houses.”
Mercury even wrote a song to his cat Delilah, including the lyrics, “You make me so very happy / When you cuddle up and go to sleep beside me / And then you make me slightly mad / When you pee all over my Chippendale suite.”
And in the liner notes of his 1985 solo album “Mr. Bad Guy,” Mercury paid tribute to his feline friends: “This album is dedicated to my cat Jerry—also Tom, Oscar, and Tiffany and all the cat lovers across the universe—screw everybody else!”
As for the actor who plays Mercury, Rami Malek, he’s allergic to cats! That’s why his Elliot character on “Mr. Robot” ended up with a fish instead of a kitty.
As Malek explained during a 2016 USA interview, “Initially, in the pilot Qwerty was a cat, but they were so worried that I would erupt in hives all the time that we made him a beta fish. For Elliot, it’s a much better pet. That’s one of those great moments, those happy accidents that just work within the art.”
On “Mr. Robot,” Elliot also ended up, briefly, with a dog named Flipper, who was eventually was returned to his original owner, Hansen.