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Friday, May 19, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Bart the Bear, a veteran of several films, dies at 23

The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY - 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 weighed 5 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 had surgery twice to remove tumors from his right paw. But the cancer reappeared, sapping his strength and appetite, and he refused to take pain medication.

Bart was euthanized May 10 and buried on the Seuses' farm. The average life expectancy of a grizzly is 28.

The massive bear made his first film appearance in "Windwalker" in 1980. He was 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," Lynne Seus said. "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."

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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