Bart the Bear Dies at 23

Thursday, May 18th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A 1,500-pound, 9 1/2 -foot grizzly bear who appeared in more than a dozen films, including ``The Edge'' with Anthony Hopkins, has died from cancer at age 23.

Bart the Bear was just five pounds when he was born at a Baltimore zoo. He was adopted by film-industry animal trainers Doug and Lynne Seus and taken to their wildlife ranch near Heber City, 30 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.

Diagnosed with cancer in October 1998, Bart underwent surgery twice to remove tumors from his right paw. But the cancer reappeared, sapping his strength and appetite, and he refused to take his pain medication.

Bart was euthanized May 10 and buried on the Seus' farm.

The massive bear made his first film appearance in 1980's ``Windwalker.'' He went on to be featured in several more films, including ``The Edge,'' a 1996 movie featuring Hopkins as a millionaire marooned in the Alaska wilderness by a plane crash.

``Tony Hopkins was absolutely brilliant with Bart,'' said Lynne Seus. ``He acknowledged and respected him like a fellow actor. He would spend hours just looking at Bart and admiring him. He did so many of his own scenes with Bart.''

Bart also appeared with John Candy in ``The Great Outdoors'' and Brad Pitt in ``Legends of the Fall.''

Besides appearing in films, he was a ``spokesbear'' for the Seus' Vital Ground Foundation, which buys wildlife habitat along the Rocky Mountain front and on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

The average life expectancy of a grizzly is 28.


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