BIG BEAR LAKE, CA — A grizzly bear that appeared in movies and television shows, including the Will Ferrell film “Semi-Pro,” killed a trainer Tuesday at a private facility for exotic animals, authorities said.
Three experienced handlers were working with the bear at Randy Miller’s Predators in Action facility when the bear bit 39-year-old Stephan Miller on the neck, said San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Beavers. Stephan Miller is Randy’s cousin, she said.
The center’s staff used pepper spray to subdue and contain the bear and there were no other injuries, she said.
A county Fire Department traumatic injury response unit responded about 3 p.m., but could not revive Miller.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Phelps said the bear was a 5-year-old male named Rocky. The Predators in Action Web site says Rocky is 7-feet tall, weighs 700 pounds and appeared in a scene in “Semi-Pro” in which Will Ferrell’s character wrestles a bear to promote his basketball team.
Calls seeking comment from Randy Miller, a stuntman and operator of Predators in Action, were not immediately returned Tuesday evening. Randy Miller doubled for Ferrell in the bear wrestling match, according to the center’s site.
It wasn’t immediately clear what would happen to the bear.
Denise Richards, who works with wild animals at Moonridge Zoo, a sanctuary for injured and homeless wildlife in nearby Big Bear Lake, said trained animals that turn on their handlers are often destroyed.
Native grizzly bears are extinct in California.