Don’t worry, there will be no Game Of Thrones spoilers here. Except for bear spoilers.
You see, last night’s episode of the hit (if increasingly boring) HBO series (appropriately titled “The Bear & The Maiden Fair”) featured a great character actor cameo last night, as a climactic sequence involved none other than Bart the Bear!
If you’re not familiar with Bart, chance are he portrayed pretty much any bear you’ve seen on screen in the last 20 years or so. That said, this is kind of a legacy superhero/comic book thing, as there have actually been two Bart The Bears (hence the binary IMDB pages for the grizzlys). They are not related bears, but simply the creatures that the same trainers have coached into being the premiere bear thespians.
The first Bart The Bear began his acting career in the early 80s and eventually ended up as the most working bear in Hollywood, appearing in a dozen+ films like The Bear, White Fang, and Legends of the Fall. Per wiki, he shared the screen with the likes of John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Daryl Hannah, Annette Bening, Ethan Hawke, Steven Seagal, Gregory Peck, Tchéky Karyo, Brad Pitt, Alec Baldwin, and Anthony Hopkins (twice!).
What about the ferocious grizzly you saw in last night’s Game Of Thrones episode though? Well that’s actually “Little” Bart The Bear, who made his feature debut in Dr. Doolittle 2 and has since accumulated as many impressive credits as his predecessor, appearing in shows and movies like CSI, Scrubs, Into The Wild, and We Bought A Zoo. Hell, he was even the best thing in Kevin James’ abortion film, Zookeeper!
Little Bart was born in 2000, so we hopefully have many years of great cameos ahead from him, assuming he doesn’t retire or isn’t phased out by CGI. That said, the move towards CGI animals is a big win on the anti-cruelty front, so maybe the sooner we can put Bart out to bear pasture the better. In the meantime I hope the most high-profile grizzly in Hollywood is being treated very well, and enjoying his time in front of the camera.