The animal actor Bart the Bear II, who boasted more credits than plenty of human actors, has passed away. He was 21.
Bart died peacefully at his home in Heber City, Utah, this month. The 1,400-pound thespian’s health had been in decline for a year,.
During his life, Bart was featured in the films “Dr. Dolittle 2,” “Evan Almighty” and “Into the Wild” among others, not to mention numerous roles in TV shows — including “Game of Thrones” — and commercials.
More important than his prolific Hollywood career, though, was his ambassador role for the grizzly bear habitat conservation-focused group Vital Ground Foundation, the group’s co-founders wrote in.
“Bart lived a supremely outsized life filled with the love and care of his trainers and lifelong companions, Vital Ground co-founders Doug and Lynne Seus,” reads ancommemorating the beloved grizzly’s life. “Whether his mighty presence captured you through film or in person, we are grateful for your connection to grizzlies and for Bart’s life and legacy as a conservation ambassador for his wild cousins.”
Bart the Bear II grew up in the Wrangell Mountains of Alaska with his sister, Honey Bump. The pair were found starving and isolated after a “dedicated bear biologist” followed the trail of a hunter’s boot tracks to their den. The hunter had killed the pair’s mother, but the cubs managed to get another lease on life after the Seus family took them in.
Little Bart soon outgrew the nickname and became Bart the Bear II, named after, the first grizzly the Seus family had taken in, back in 1977. Bart the Bear enjoyed a 23-year acting career, with credits including “Legends of the Fall” and “White Fang” (among 30 other titles) before passing away in 2000.
“Bart the Bear II is survived by his sister of the wild Honey Bump, his pal Tank the Bear, and his family,” the obit concludes before listing Bart’s human relatives. “The Seus Clan is forever humbled and grateful to have shared our lives with this noble grizzly. Fly free Beloved Giant.”
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