Little is known of Gavenue's past, other than that he was born in a coastal town, and eventually married a woman named Katty Taylor, who had two children, Kelly and Tom. When she eventually decided to leave him, Gavenue murdered Katty and, knowing she was a drug addict, made it look like a suicide. Doing so, he claimed possession of all her property and money. He later became motivated to start a "Safari Ranch", attaining many exotic animals to do so, before contacting a circus to get a Bengal tiger after withdrawing all the money from a bank account his wife opened.
Burning Bright Edit
Johnny Gavenue made his debut in the film meeting with a circus owner named Howe, who showed him the Bengal tiger they were meeting to discuss for sale. Though he felt sure the tiger is not scary enough to be his star attraction at his Safari Ranch, Howe convinced him so by telling him about how the tiger had killed a circus horse, declaring him an evil cat. Paying him his price plus expenses, Gavenue named the tiger Lucifer and drove back to his coast home, where he ordered his workers, all illegal immigrants, that he wanted the place boarded up to defend against the oncoming hurricane. When one nearly had his finger scratched off by the tiger due to carelessness, Gavenue gave him money and sent him to the clinic, before later being confronted by his stepdaughter, Kelly Taylor, who demanded to know what he'd done with the money he withdrew from her account, but he pointed out it was his since the account was her mother's and that he'd bought a tiger with it when she asked for what remained. He sent his 8-year-old stepson, Tom inside for safety when he found him near Lucifer's cage, and locked the trailer. Later that night, after Tom and Kelly had gone to bed, Gavenue rolled the cage up to the house and set the tiger loose in the house to kill his stepchildren, having removed them from his life insurance. Afterwards he went to a bar and began drinking beer, with his friend, the Sheriff, stopping by and aking him about the tiger. Though he was not very supportive of it, he only told him to watch himself after they talked about his wife Katty, who Gavenue murdered, with him crying over it and possibly over what he did back at his house. The next morning, he returned to the house with a rifle, intending to possibly check for survivors or kill Lucifer and removed the board on the front door, awakening the still alive Kelly and Tom, who had both nearly been killed multiple times by Lucifer, the former of whom he talked to about their mother, the truth coming out that he had murdered her and made it look like a suicide. Lucifer then leaped on Gavenue and badly wounded him, before dragging him back some and finishing him off as he started to devour him alive, allowing Kelly and Tom to leave the house alive.
Having been able to organize his "Safari Ranch", Gavenue was a very resourceful man, able to easily attain various exotic animals. He was also a capable leader, able to easily command the loyalty and respect of the men who worked for him.
Though a relatively calm man, Gavenue was a very evil and deceitful man, willingly murdering his wife, Katty, when she decided to leave him and later attempting to use the Bengal tiger he had purchased to try to kill his stepchildren to get them out of the way when he removed them from his life insurance, all the while deceiving everyone, including them, into believing Katty's death was a suicide. However, he was not without regret of his actions, as he was shown crying over them at one point and was nearly brought to tears when Kelly realized the truth about her mother. Ultimately, his evil plan led to his own demise. His death is somehow similar to Scar's death from Lion King, as they were both killed by their own minions.