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On this Day in Movie History, May 10, 2000: Bart the Bear Dies

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It was on this day, May 10, 2000, that one of Hollywood’s biggest stars died. Standing at over a lumbering nine and a half feet tall, and weighing over 1500 pounds, Bart the Bear had appeared in eleven made for theater movies , and five made for television releases. He died while filming the television documentary, Growing Up Grizzly. He was 23 years old.

An Alaskan Kodiak Bear, Bart’s mother appeared in the films Grizzly and Day of the Animals. Animal trainers Doug Seus and Lynne Seus of Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife, Inc., in Heber City, Utah, trained Bart.

Bart the Bear starred in films opposite such stars as John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Annette Bening, Ethan Hawke, Steven Seagal, Gregory Peck, Tchéky Karyo, Brad Pitt, Alec Baldwin, and Anthony Hopkins, the latter even twice. All of them were reportedly impressed with how well the bear was trained.

Bart was the “spokes-bear” for the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University but his greatest role was as ambassador for the Vital Ground Foundation. Vital Ground has procured threatened wildlife habitat along the Rocky Mountain front and on Kodiak Island.

Filmography

Windwalker (1980)
The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986)
The Great Outdoors (1988)
The Bear (1988)
White Fang (1991)
The Giant of Thunder Mountain (1991)
On Deadly Ground (1994)
Legends of the Fall (1994)
Walking Thunder (1997)
The Edge (1997)
Meet the Deedles (1998)

Television

Louis L’Amour’s Down the Long Hills (1986)
Lost in the Barrens (1990)
The Young Riders – episode Decoy (1990)
In 1998, Bart made an appearance at the 70th Academy Awards as part of a salute to animal actors.
Into The Wild
The Amazing Race Family Edition, he gave contestants their clue

Birthdays
1899 – Fred Astaire (Austerlitz) (dancer, actor: Funny Face, Silk Stockings, Finian’s Rainbow, Daddy Long Legs, Easter Parade, Let’s Dance, That’s Entertainment, The Towering Inferno; died June 22, 1987)

1902 – David O. (Oliver) Selznick (producer: King Kong, A Star Is Born, The Prisoner of Zenda, Gone with the Wind, Duel in the Sun, The Third Man, A Farewell to Arms; died June 22, 1965)

1914 – Charles McGraw (actor: A Boy and His Dog, Cimarron, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, The Defiant Ones, The Horizontal Lieutenant, Spartacus; died July 30, 1980)

1917 – Margo (Maria Marguerita Guadalupe Teresa Estela Bolado Castilla y O’Donnell) (actress: Viva Zapata!, Lost Horizon, I’ll Cry Tomorrow, Winterset; died July 17, 1985)

1922 – Nancy Walker (Ann Myrtle Swoyer) (actress: McMillan and Wife; Bounty paper towel spots; Murder by Death, Broadway Rhythm, Forty Carats; died Mar 25, 1992)

1944 – Jim Abrahams (writer, director: Hot Shots! series, Big Business, Top Secret!, Police Squad, Help Wanted, Airplane!; writer: The Naked Gun; director: Ruthless People, Big Business)

1944 – Marie-France Pisier (actress: Prize of the Peril, Miss Right, Chanel Solitaire, We Will Not Enter the Forest, Cousin Cousine, French Postcards, The Other Side of Midnight)

1948 – Meg Foster (actress: Undercover, Lady in Waiting, To Catch a Killer, They Live, The Emerald Forest, Carny, James Dean, Adam at 6 a.m., Cagney & Lacey, Sunshine, The Trials of Rosie O’Neill)

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