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Bart the Bear II, furry screen star from Utah, dies at 21

The brown bear appeared in ‘We Bought a Zoo,’ ‘Pete’s Dragon’ and a memorable ‘Game of Thrones’ episode.

(John Hechtel | Vital Ground Foundation) Bart the Bear II plays pattycake with his trainer and owner, Doug Seus. Bart, 21, died over the weekend of Nov. 20, 2021, according to a statement from Seus issued through the nonprofit Vital Ground Foundation.

Bart the Bear II, an 8-foot-tall brown bear from Utah who appeared in movies and TV shows, has died at his home in Heber City.

Bart died over the weekend, according to his owners and trainers, Doug and Lynne Seus, who reported Bart’s death on the website of their nonprofit, the Vital Ground Foundation. He was 21, and had been in poor health for the last year, the Seuses said.

Bart made his movie debut as a cub in 2001′s “Dr. Dolittle 2,” starring Eddie Murphy. He appeared with Emile Hirsch in the Sean Penn-directed “Into the Wild” (2007), shared screen time with Matt Damon in “We Bought a Zoo” (2011), and appeared in two movies starring fellow Utah resident Robert Redford: “An Unfinished Life” (2005) and Bart’s final movie role, “Pete’s Dragon” (2016).

Bart also appeared on TV, most notably in a 2013 episode of the fantasy series “Game of Thrones,” in a gladiatorial pit with Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie). Bart’s final screen appearance was in a viral ad for Kodiak Cakes, a pancake mix company based in Park City.

(HBO) Bart the Bear II, an 8-foot-tall Utah-raised brown bear, faces off against Gwendoline Christie, as Brienne of Tarth, in a 2013 episode of the HBO series "Game of Thrones." Bart II died over the weekend of Nov. 20-21, 2021, at his home in Heber City, at the age of 21.

According to the Seuses, Bart and his sister, Honey Bump, were orphaned as cubs in Alaska’s Wrangell Mountains, when their mother was killed by a hunter. A bear biologist found the cubs, scared and starving. The cubs were brought to Utah, where the Seuses cared for them.

The cubs arrived as the original Bart the Bear, the main bear in the Seuses’ care at the time, was dying of cancer. The original Bart, a grizzly, appeared in 21 movies and TV shows, according to the Internet Movie Database, most famously facing off in a shouting match with Anthony Hopkins in the 1997 adventure thriller “The Edge.”

The Seuses said they first called Bart II “Little Bart,” but that name didn’t fit once he grew to more than 1,100 pounds, so he became Bart the Bear II.

According to the Seuses’ website, the younger Bart’s hobbies were “eating, swimming, rolling giant truck tires around, and chasing butterflies.”

Both Barts were ambassadors for the Vital Ground Foundation, which is based in Missoula, Montana. The nonprofit was founded by the Seuses in 1990 to promote the protection and restoration of grizzly habitats in North America.

“Bart was a grizzly who walked the Earth with intelligence, power, grace and purpose,” Ryan Lutey, the foundation’s executive director, said in a statement of Bart II. “All of us who knew him were made more whole by his incomparable spirit.”

Bart is survived by his sister, his friend Tank the Bear, and his human family, the Seuses.

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