Hercules (1975 – 4 February 2000)  was a trained grizzly bear from Scotland who appeared in a number of cameo roles for various television productions, reaching the height of his popularity in the 1980s. He was owned by wrestler Andy Robin and his wife, Maggie, who originally bought him from The Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie, south of Aviemore, as a cub in 1976. Andy, having wrestled a bear in Maple Leaf Gardens in 1968 for money, hit upon the idea of adopting his own bear to create a star. The wildlife park was unable to rehouse newly-born cubs and sold one to Andy for £50, allowing him to take the cub home that September once he was old enough to leave his mother.
Hercules first appeared with Andy in his act on the UK wrestling circuit in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Playing the role of a gentle giant, the bear regularly drew audiences of 15 million viewers on ITV's World of Sport programme.
It was this which gave Hercules early success, leading to a number of small acting roles on television.
While filming for an Kleenex television commercial on 20 August 1980, on Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides, Hercules managed to escape, and went missing for 24 days. In a rescue attempt joined by hundreds of volunteers, search parties looked for Hercules for three days before calling off the search. On 13 September, a crofter spotted the animal swimming; he was shot with a tranquilliser dart, netted and flown by helicopter back to Andy.
The story made Hercules an almost instant celebrity around the world, as the world's media gathered round the cage as the bear was slowly brought back to consciousness. He would go on to secure higher profile roles in films such as the James Bond movie Octopussy (1983), in which he shared the screen with Roger Moore, and a documentary for the animated Disney film Hercules (1997), as well as starring in a number of other small film roles, children's documentaries and chat shows.
Whilst filming a BBC television documentary, 'Eyewitness Bear' Hercules fell over and slipped a disc in his back, marking an abrupt end to his career. Andy nursed him back to health over the next 6 months, with swimming exercises in Hercules' pool. But the following winter he lost the use of his legs again.
Before entering hibernation, Hercules died of old age on 4 February 2001, aged 25 (which is around the natural lifespan of a grizzly).
- Hercules was featured on the cover of Time and helped to promote the Miss World contest.
- Hercules caddied for comedian Bob Hope at the Scottish golf course of Gleneagles.
- Hercules was once named "Personality of the Year" by the Scottish Tourist Board and received a telegram from Ronald Reagan.
- BBC's On This Day - Missing Scottish bear is found
- Planet Ark - Hercules, the grizzly bear who once wrestled with James Bond, has died at the age of 25.
- A tribute from Maggie Robin, wife of Andy Robin
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