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Wilford Brimley, 'Cocoon' and 'Natural' actor, dies at 85

Wilford Brimley, who worked his way up from stunt performer to star of film such as “Cocoon” and “The Natural,” has died. He was 85.

8/2/2020 9:31:00 AM

Wilford Brimley , who worked his way up from stunt performer to star of film such as “Cocoon” and “The Natural,” has died. He was 85.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wilford Brimley , who worked his way up from movie stunt rider to an indelible character actor who brought gruff charm, and sometimes menace, to a range of films that included...

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wilford Brimley, who worked his way up from movie stunt rider to an indelible character actor who brought gruff charm, and sometimes menace, to a range of films that included “Cocoon,” “The Natural” and “The Firm,” has died. He was 85.

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Brimley’s manager Lynda Bensky said the actor died Saturday morning in a Utah hospital. He was on dialysis and had several medical ailments, she said.The mustached Brimley was a familiar face for a number of roles, often playing characters like his grizzled baseball manager in “The Natural” opposite Robert Redford’s bad-luck phenomenon. He also worked with Redford in “Brubaker” and “The Electric Horseman.”

Brimley’s best-known work was in “Cocoon,” in which he was part of a group of seniors who discover an alien pod that rejuvenates them. The 1985 Ron Howard film won two Oscars, including a supporting actor honor for Don Ameche.ADVERTISEMENTBrimley also starred in “Cocoon: The Return,” a 1988 sequel.

For years he was pitchman for Quaker Oats and in recent years appeared in a series of diabetes spots that turned him at one point into a social media sensation.“Wilford Brimley was a man you could trust,” Bensky said in a statement. “He said what he meant and he meant what he said. He had a tough exterior and a tender heart. I’m sad that I will no longer get to hear my friend’s wonderful stories. He was one of a kind.”

Barbara Hershey, who met Brimley on 1995′s “Last of the Dogmen,” called him “a wonderful man and actor. ... He always made me laugh.”Though never nominated for an Oscar or Emmy Award, Brimley amassed an impressive list of credits. In 1993’s John Grisham adaptation “The Firm,” Brimley starred opposite Tom Cruise as a tough-nosed investigator who deployed ruthless tactics to keep his law firm’s secrets safe.

John Woo, who directed Brimley as Uncle Douvee in 1993′s “Hard Target,” told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018 that the part was “the main great thing from the film. I was overjoyed making those scenes and especially working with Wilford Brimley.”A Utah native who grew up around horses, Brimley spent two decades traveling around the West and working at ranches and race tracks. He drifted into movie work during the 1960s, riding in such films as “True Grit,” and appearing in TV series such as “Gunsmoke.”

He forged a friendship with Robert Duvall, who encouraged him to seek more prominent acting roles, according to a biography prepared by Turner Classic Movies.Brimley, who never trained as an actor, saw his career take off after he won an important role as a nuclear power plant engineer in “The China Syndrome.”

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“Training? I’ve never been to acting classes, but I’ve had 50 years of training,” he said in a 1984 Associated Press interview. “My years as an extra were good background for learning about camera techniques and so forth. I was lucky to have had that experience; a lot of newcomers don’t.”

“Basically my method is to be honest,” Brimley said told AP. “The camera photographs the truth — not what I want it to see, but what it sees. The truth.”Brimley had a recurring role as a blacksmith on “The Waltons” and the 1980s prime-time series “Our House.”

Another side of the actor was his love of jazz. As a vocalist, he made albums including “This Time the Dream’s On Me” and “Wilford Brimley with the Jeff Hamilton Trio.”In 1998, he opposed an Arizona referendum to ban cockfighting, saying that he was “trying to protect a lifestyle of freedom and choice for my grandchildren.”

Read more: The Associated Press »

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he'll be burning his waffles up in heaven. After I saw The Firm I had a very memorable nightmare that Wilford Brimley was hunting me down. He was so scary and creepy in that movie. Alright 2020, you’ve gone too far😭😭 ☹️ Nope an_droid116 Nooooooo! Diabeeetus! Diabetes Family Guy via YouTube Weird I hear this and immediately think of daxshepard’s impression

PatrickZircher Beats -- Old fart from old movies died ---TMZ Musta been complications from his diabeetus. DIABETES... But where is my friend going to get his diabetic testing supplies from now on? Hey kids - if you work really really hard, you too can “work your way up” to become a television pitch man! 👍🏻

I knew Wilford. Honestly, he was a real jerk. Insulted strangers and was rude to cast and crew. He was a miserable human being. And he knew it. RIP I guess, curmudgeon. Very sad and upsetting... he was great in the Firm too... He was in The Thing, watch Clark and watch em good. Family Guy legend😔🙏 Rip Doug Dimmadome

Diabetes gailborges RIP sir. Too your family I'm sorry for your loss. Is this article like 20yrs old? And anti-diabeetus spokesman. RIP Willy B 😢 Wait....he was only 49 when he was in The Natural? I could have sworn he was in his early 60s back Funny how some people maintain their youth while others look old from Day 1. Rob Lowe at 55, Wilford Brimley at 49

Oh my heart....such a wonderful actor and a beautiful human being. Dead agian in matrix. I all ready siad rip Damn it. He just promised the other week on his Twitter that he was going to stick around a while. 🙁 He'll be back... RIP RIP DIABEETUS *185 He was so sweet in his movies (where he wasn't the bad guy) but I only see him in Cocoon!

Diabetus! It’s amazing he was only 19 when Cocoon was filmed I thought he died almost a decade ago 🤔 He was excellent as a nefarious character in “The Firm.” Oh no, not the 'Diubeetus' guy! RIP Wildord was 49 years old when he filmed cocoon. I’m 51 right now & he’d Still look like my grandfather. RIP Mr. Brinkley :-(

He was a good man. RIP 😢😢😢💔💔💔 💔just tweeted to him yesterday. You were our forever grandpa. RIP. RIP Pop Fisher 🙏🏼 Sorry he died, but this man has been in his early 80s for nearly 40 years. How was he in his 40s when the Natural was filmed? Annnnnnnnd your social media person can’t spell. Good to know.

Diabeetus? Sad news. I loved his work. I want some oatmeal! He was old before being old was cool. RIP sweet boy.

Wilford Brimley Dies: ‘Cocoon’, ‘The Natural’ Actor Was 85 Wilford Brimley , the actor known for his work in Cocoon, The Natural and The Thing, has died. He was 85. Brimley, whose additional credits include The Electric Horseman and The Hotel New Hampshire,… So sad.. RIP 😢 Sad Rest in peace

Wilford Brimley, ‘The Natural’ and ‘Cocoon’ Star, Dies at 85 Wilford Brimley , best known for his roles in “The Natural,” the 1982 remake of “The Thing,” “The Firm” and “Cocoon,” died on Saturday. He was 85. His… Sad. Diabeetus?

Wilford Brimley, Star of ‘Cocoon’ and ‘The Natural,’ Dies at 85The actor was a familiar face for a number of roles, often playing gruff characters, as well as as a pitchman for Quaker Oats and in diabetes spots that turned him into a social-media sensation. I loved him in ‘Cocoon’. International activities of the Latin America states in combating drug trafficking in the XXI century:

Wilford Brimley, star of 'Cocoon' and 'The Natural,' dies at 85 Wilford Brimley starred in films such as 'Cocoon' and 'The Natural,' he was a longtime pitchman for Quaker Oats and in recent years he appeared in a series of diabetes spots. If you need logo or brand identity design. Contact me or visit my site. Thank you..... logodesign graphicdesign brandidentitydesign RIP Mr. Brimley you’re role in “Absent of Malice” Brilliant...

Wilford Brimley, Curmudgeonly Actor Known for 'Cocoon' and 'The Natural,' Dies at 85 Wilford Brimley , the actor with the walrus mustache whose down-home geniality seen in such films as 'Cocoon,' 'The Natural' and 'Absence of Malice' endeared him to moviegoers, has died. He was 85. What he did this time? Don’t forget the John Carpenter classic, “The Thing”. RIP Wilford Brimley , face of Quaker Oats and Diabetes Campaigns , dead at 85.

Wilford Brimley, an actor and a Quaker Oats pitchman, dies at 85 Wilford Brimley , the mustachioed actor who appeared on the big screen, television shows and Quaker Oats commercials, has died. He was 85. RIP Long Live Beetus! 🥺 the diabeeetus man.