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8 iconic animal actors

By: Matt Hickman on Sept. 11, 2013, 5:50 p.m.
Bart the Bear during the 1998 Academy Awards ceremony

Photo: YouTube

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Bart the Bear

Bart the Bear, a 9.5-foot force of nature who over the course of his storied career appeared opposite Anthony Hopkins, Ethan Hawke, Brad Pitt, Alec Baldwin and, err, Steven Segal, was born in 1977 into an established ursine acting clan – apparently his mother appeared in the late-1970s schlocky horror movies "Grizzly" and "Day of the Animals." Bart, however, had grander aspirations than low-budget genre films and went on to appear briefly in "Clan of the Cave Bear" (1986) with Darryl Hannah and the John Hughes-penned Dan Akroyd /John Candy comedy, "The Great Outdoors" (1988).

In 1988, Bart caught the biggest break a nearly 2,000-pound Alaskan Kodiak bear can get when he was featured prominently in Jean-Jacques Annaud’s critically acclaimed "The Bear." In the film, he portrays a gruff but compassionate adult grizzly who befriends an orphaned cub. Subsequent, high-profile appearances included "White Fang," "Legends of the Fall" and in one of his final film roles, "The Edge."

Bart passed away from cancer in 2000 the age of 23 in Park City, Utah, under the care of his long-time trainers and human companions, Doug and Lynne Seus of Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife. "He loved to be in the spotlight and relished the applause and cheers of the film crew much more than he did his salmon and blueberries," reads the Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife website in a tribute to one of Hollywood’s most prolific — and fearsome — animal actors.