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

Wilford Brimley, who worked his way up from movie stunt rider to indelible character actor in films including “Cocoon” and “The Natural,” has died

8/2/2020 3:39:00 PM

Wilford Brimley , who worked his way up from movie stunt rider to indelible character actor in films including “Cocoon” and “The Natural,” has died

Wilford Brimley , who worked his way up from movie stunt rider to indelible character actor in films including “Cocoon” and “The Natural,” has died

LYNN ELBER AP Television WriterAugust 2, 2020, 7:03 AM4 min readShare to TwitterEmail this articleFILE - In this Monday, Dec. 14, 2009 file photo, Actor Wilford Brimley attends the premiere of 'Did You Hear About The Morgans' at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York. 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. Brimley’s manager Lynda Bensky said the actor died Saturday morning, Aug. 1, 2020 in a Utah hospital. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)

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FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 14, 2009 file photo, Actor Wilford Brimley attends the premiere of 'Did You Hear About The Morgans' at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York. 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. Brimley’s manager Lynda Bensky said the actor died Saturday morning, Aug. 1, 2020 in a Utah hospital. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)

The Associated PressLOS ANGELES -- 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.

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.Brimley 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.

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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.”

“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.”

In recent years, Brimley’s pitchwork for Liberty Mutual had turned him into an internet sensation for his drawn out pronunciation of diabetes as “diabeetus.” He owned the pronunciation in a tweet that drew hundreds of thousands of likes earlier this year.

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Brimley is survived by his wife Beverly and three sons. Read more: ABC News »

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Rip Wilford Brimley. Sending prayers 🙏🙏🙏 sad 😥💔R.I.P Sir RIP. Seemed like a,wonderful man. RIP Mr. Brimley 🇺🇸, 🙏 Dang I thought he was 80 thirty years ago when I watched him on TV 😞 Ya we know, it stinks Rest in peace The man was only in his 50s during Cacoon. Still hard to believe. Sleep well and good travels.

Rip I loved him on our house Rawesomeee DIABEETUS Diabeetus We gre up watching him our house and quacker oats i liked his Diabetes commercials Great character actor. He will be missed. This is like losing your grandfather all over again. Was the cause of death 'Complications from diabeetus'? From his twitter posts, he seemed to be beating it and thriving in old age.

Great Actor who is now with so many others on the other side! RIP! It will be put down as covid!!! Damn RIP So sad. He was wonderful in every role! He was a great character actor. Yet another bit of sad news in 2020 Diabeetus Don’t mention that name of the movie he acted in. Australian Aboriginals find it offensive and will want the name changed.

'Our House' was popular in my circles. Wholesome. Diabeetus will never be the same. RIP I loved that guy...he was an excellent actor ...and it appears that he was a really good human being...RIP Sad The death of WilfordBrimley really shouldn't be getting this much media attention since it's not covid related.

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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, 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, ‘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 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, 'Cocoon' and 'Natural' actor, dies at 85LOS 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... He was old before being old was cool. RIP sweet boy. I want some oatmeal! Sad news. I loved his work.

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.