Tony Award winner asks Miami Seaquarium CEO to free Lolita

Alan Cumming compares his life to orca in captivity since 1970


KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – A Tony Award-winning actor is the latest celebrity to publicly join the crusade to free Lolita the killer whale from the Miami Seaquarium.

Alan Cumming, who is performing Friday in a cabaret show in Miami, penned a letter to Fernando Eiroa asking that Lolita be set free. Eiroa is chief executive officer of Parques Reunidos, which operates the Miami Seaquarium.

"She and I have much in common," Cumming wrote of Lolita. "We both hail from the cooler north, and we're both in our early 50s. However, over the past five decades, I've been able to travel the world and pursue my dreams, while she has languished in the smallest, oldest orca tank in the world. I'm writing to ask that you free her."

Lolita has lived at the Miami Seaquarium since 1970.

Cumming said Lolita's confined space is "only as deep as she is long." He also spoke about her lack of companionship since 1980, "when her former tankmate, Hugo, killed himself by ramming his head into the side of their tank."

"Lolita's family still lives in the waters of the Pacific Northwest, and an orca believed to be her mother is alive, so there's a chance that she could be reunited with her long-lost pod -- but only if the Seaquarium gives the word," Cumming's letter said. "Will you please retire her to a coastal sanctuary, where she could, for the first time in decades, feel ocean currents, swim long distances, dive deep and communicate with wild orcas -- all while also benefiting from human care?"

Mexican actress Kate del Castillo teamed up last month with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to admonish the Seaquarium for keeping Lolita in captivity. She called on the community to boycott the Seaquarium and other marine parks until Lolita is free.

Cumming won a Tony Award for his performance in the 1998 musical "Cabaret." He has also been nominated for an Emmy Award for "The Good Wife."

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