Bart the Bear was born in a U.S. zoo on Jan. 19, 1977. His destiny, however, was not to live out his 23 1/2 years in the unchanging confinement of a zoo, but to see the world and become a beloved member of a human family. He came to Doug and Lynne Seus as a five-pound bundle and grew to 1,500 pounds, standing 9 1/2 feet tall.
His long film career took him and his family from the Austrian/Italian Alps to the wilderness of Alaska, all over the U.S. and Canada, and finally to the stage of the 1998 Academy Awards. 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.
Bart the Bear’s legacy went far beyond his film career. He is the “spokesbear” for the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University, but his greatest role was as Ambassador of Vital Ground. Vital Ground has protected threatened wildlife habitat in Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and British Columbia. Because of Bart’s life in captivity, many of his wild brothers and sisters are able to roam free.
Bart the Bear died peacefully surrounded by his family and friends at his home in Utah on May 10, 2000.
But that’s not the end of the story.
His old swimming hole was filled with love and joy when the circle of life brought the Seuses two orphaned grizzly cubs. The cubs’ mother was shot 200 miles north of Anchorage. These babies miraculously survived alone for over two days when the Alaska Fish and Game rescued them. The little male cub carries on Bart’s legacy and is his namesake. The female cub is named Honey-Bump. These cubs follow in Bart’s giant footsteps to bring the wondrous spirit of the Great Bear into many lives and hearts through film, television, and live appearances.
If you’re a Facebook member, please join the official Bart the Bear Fan Group by clicking here. Vital Ground also has a page and a cause page you can join as well. Stay in the know with everything griz!
And be sure to watch the touching documentary The Legacy of Bart the Bear on YouTube.com. Tissue required!
Bart the Bear’s Feature Films
Windwalker, Pacific International Enterprises, 1980
Clan of the Cave Bear, Warner Brothers, 1984
The Bear, Tri Star Renn Productions, 1987
The Great Outdoors, Universal, 1988
Giant of Thunder Mountain, 1990
The Great American West, IMAX, 1991
White Fang, Disney, 1992
On Deadly Ground, Warner Brothers, 1993
Walking Thunder, 1993
Yellowstone, IMAX, 1994
Legends of the Fall, Tri Star, 1995
The Edge, 20th Century Fox, 1996
Meet the Deedles, Disney, 1997
Television Movies, Mini-Series and Episodes
The Gambler, CBS TV, 1980
Down the Long Hills, Disney, 1986
Lost in the Barrens, 1990
McKenna, CBS, 1994
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, 1994
Young Riders, episode “The Decoy”, MGM TV, 1995
Lonesome Dove, episode “Deadman’s Walk”, ABC TV, 1996
Les amants de rivière rouge, French TV mini-series, 1996
Academy Awards, 1998
The Predators, National Geographic Education, 1980
National Geographic “The Grizzlies,” 1986
National Audubon Society, “Grizzly & Man: Uneasy Truce,” 1988
Today Show, 1989
Komo TV, “River of Bears,” 1995
Entertainment Tonight, 1995
Inside Edition, 1996
Jack Hanna’s “Animal Adventures,” 1996
Discovery Electric, “Wild on the Set,” 1996
“Ordinary Extraordinary,” 1996
Nova Green Umbrella, “Animal Minds,” 1997
CNN Impact, “Bearly Acting,” 1997
Movie Magic, “Animals on the Rampage,” 1997
National Geographic Explorer, 1997
CBS’ 48 Hours, “Animal Smarts,” 1999