I was watching Game of Thrones the other day (please don’t get me started on how disappointed I was in the season finale) and I noticed a guest appearance by a much unheralded actor. You probably won’t see this actor appear on General Hospital, and I don’t think he will make the cut in celebrity Jeopardy, but this actor has more than made an impact on Hollywood. I am of course referring to Little Bart the Bear. Little Bart was born in 2000 up in Alaska and other than the common name, is not related to the original Bart the Bear.
The original Bart the Bear was nothing short of a legend. He appeared in 17 movies, more than enough to warrant a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. He has starred opposite screen titans such as John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Steven Seagal, Gregory Peck, Brad Pitt, Alec Baldwin, and Sir Anthony Hopkins…the latter twice. He had a career that spanned 20 years. Standing 9’6″ and weighing 1,500 pounds, he would dominate the Kraft services table. Bart the Bear was the sole reason I watched The Edge 3 times, his work is masterful. It’s hard to believe it’s been 13 years since Bart left us. In 2000, he passed away of cancer at the age of 23 while doing what he loved, filming a documentary called Growing Up Grizzly. No one was better suited for that role than Bart. In 1998, shortly after filming Meet the Deedles, you may recall seeing Bart at the 70th Academy Awards as part of a salute to animal actors. Young actors flock to Hollywood every year and I think it’s safe to say that each and every one of them would love to have a career that emulated Bart’s. He was a gentleman, he was a student, he was a humanitarian, and he loved acting for the art, he wasn’t in it for the money. An actor like Bart the Bear will probably come around once in my lifetime. He will be missed…he is being missed.
Thankfully we have the honor of watching his namesake, Little Bart the Bear continue the craft that Bart laid out. Standing at only 8’6″ tall and coming in at a svelte 1,100 pounds, he doesn’t cast as long a shadow as Bart, but as Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Anyone who witnessed that very same Game of Thrones episode knows exactly what I know, throw Jaime Lannister in the ring again for round 2, and I don’t think he will be so lucky again. Having the ability to perform a series of moves such as waving goodbye, “attack” behaviors such as swiping, walking on his back legs and limping as though he’s been hurt and roaring, it would not shock me at all to see Little Bart have as equally successful a career as Bart. Moves like that put him on the same level as renowned actors such as Dame Judy Dench, the Hobbit, and Adam Sandler. Which one of those 3 would I like to star alongside…it’s so obvious I don’t even have to type it…(but I will because common sense is sometimes not so common)…it’s Little Bart the Bear.
The next time you find yourself lost in one of the shotty re-makes that Hollywood is churning out these days, or you find you cannot get off TNT because you too want to yell along with Sir Anthony Hopkins “I’m gonna kill the bear!”, realize that the reason you are so engrossed in that film masterpiece may because of the actor who doesn’t get top billing, it may be because of Bart the Bear…or Little Bart.