World-famous former Taco Bell spokesdog and Castaic resident Gidget the Chihuahua died Tuesday night of a stroke at the age of 15.
Owner Sue Chipperton, who runs Studio Animal Services in Castaic, called the dog a “consummate professional” and said that in recent years, Gidget spent her days sunbathing.
Gidget was an advertising icon in the late 1990s as an enthusiastic Taco Bell customer that demanded their unique Mexican food. Her popular ads placed the phrase “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” and “Drop The Chalupa” squarely in the popular lexicon.
With her plaintive eyes and oversized ears, Gidget charmed her way into the hearts and wallets of Americans, who not only bought the fast food chain’s menus items, but also bought stuffed dogs and giftware bearing Gidget’s likeness.
Her popularity even sparked a run on Chihuahuas as pets.
Prior to her Taco Bell debut, she was featured in an Old Navy campaign and in her heyday, she flew first class and rode in limousines. She even helped open the New York Stock Exchange one morning, an honor bestowed on very few canines.
After protests from Mexican cultural groups that Gidget’s character were perpetuating a stereotype, the commercials were abruptly stopped and she moved on to the big screen, starring as the mother of Bruiser, the Chihuahua companion of Reese Witherspoon in “Legally Blonde 2: Red White and Blonde.” She returned to commercials for Trivial Pursuit and worked alongside the gecko in recent GEICO spots.