Wilford Brimley, actor who appeared in Cocoon before becoming Quaker Oats pitch man, dies at 85

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Wilford Brimley, the longtime actor who has appeared in blockbuster films such as Cocoon, The Firm, The Natural and The China Syndrome, but is best known as the field man for Quaker Oats food products, has died . He was 85 years old.

Brimley died at his home in his native Utah, TMZ reported.

The news site said Brimley was on dialysis while being treated in an intensive care unit after his health deteriorated in the last days of his life.

“Wilford Brimley was a man you could trust,” said manager Lynda Bensky.

“He said what he wanted to say and he meant what he said. He had a hard exterior and a tender heart.

“I’m sad that I can’t hear my friend’s wonderful stories anymore.

“He was one of a kind.

Brimley is seen above at a Harrison Ford Gala in Universal City, Calif. In September 2011

Wilford Brimley (far left), Hume Cronyn (center) and Don Ameche (right) are seen above in the movie Cocoon, the 1985 sci-fi drama drama directed by Ron Howard

Wilford Brimley (far left), Hume Cronyn (center) and Don Ameche (right) are seen above in the movie Cocoon, the 1985 sci-fi drama drama directed by Ron Howard

“He was a wonderful man, a joy to be around, and his dry sense of humor and iconic voice left an everlasting impression on every person he met,” said the talent agent of Brimley, Dominic Mancini, at the Hollywood Reporter.

“I was lucky enough to call him a friend. To know Wilford was to love Wilford.

“He’s had an incredible career and sliced ​​the screen with his dry wit, stoic stature and transmission power.

“His unique blend of unexpected comedy and indelible storytelling will always remain unmatched.

Brimley was also known for his public advocacy for diabetes education.

He devoted efforts to raising awareness about the disease after being diagnosed with diabetes in 1979.

Brimley is survived by his wife, Beverly, and their three children.

In 1956, Brimley married his first wife, Lynne Bagley, with whom he had four sons.

Brimley and Lynne were married until her death in June 2000.

In October 2007, Brimley married Beverly Berry.

A representative close to the family told TMZ that Brimley’s favorite quote was the one he found on a blacksmith’s sign.

He said, “There is nothing made, sold or made that cannot be made, sold or made cheaper.

“If price is your only concern, please do business with my competitor. “

Brimley appeared alongside Tom Cruise in the 1993 thriller The Firm

Brimley appeared alongside Tom Cruise in the 1993 thriller The Firm

In 1981, Brimley played Assistant U.S. Attorney James A. Wells in the Sydney Pollack thriller Absence of Malice, starring Paul Newman and Sally Field.

In 1981, Brimley played Assistant US Attorney James A. Wells in the thriller Absence of Malice directed by Sydney Pollack, starring Paul Newman and Sally Field.

Brimley is seen far right alongside Richard Farnsworth (center) and Robert Redford in the 1984 baseball classic The Natural

Brimley is seen far right alongside Richard Farnsworth (center) and Robert Redford in the 1984 baseball classic The Natural

In 1986, Brimley played a grandfather who looked after the family of his late son on the NBC series Our House. Brimley is pictured above with the stars Shannen Doherty (top left); Chad Allen (top right); Deidre Hall (second row from right); and Keri Houlihan (bottom left)

In 1986, Brimley played a grandfather who looked after the family of his late son on the NBC series Our House. Brimley is pictured above with the stars Shannen Doherty (top left); Chad Allen (top right); Deidre Hall (second row from right); and Keri Houlihan (bottom left)

Anthony Wilford Brimley was born in Salt Lake City on September 27, 1934. He dropped out of high school and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.

During his military service, Brimley spent three years in the Aleutian Islands.

After returning to civilian life, Brimley worked odd jobs before embarking on an acting career.

He worked as a blacksmith, rodeo rider, Hollywood extra and bodyguard for business mogul Howard Hughes before achieving success as an actor.

Years before his role in the 1984 hit The Natural, Brimley became good friends with his eventual co-star, Robert Duvall.

Duvall is credited with inspiring Brimley to pursue an acting career.

“I met him on one of those equestrian opera TV shows; I don’t remember his name, ”Brimley recalls in 2014.

“I was fascinated by what he was able to do as an actor. I had never seen anything like it.

“I announced to the world that I was an actor. Then I didn’t work for about eight years.

The two will also appear side-by-side in the 1983 film Tender Mercies, for which Duvall won the Oscar for Best Actor.

Brimley, his co-star, played his best friend the movie about a drunk and stranded country singer.

Early in his career, Brimley made several appearances in several Western films, including How the West Was Won, Kung Fu, and The Oregon Trail.

His big break came in the mid-1970s, when he was cast in a recurring role in the hit TV drama The Waltons.

In 1979, he received his first film credit with an appearance on The China Syndrome.

Brimley played Ted Spindler, a friend of factory shift supervisor Jack Godell, played by Jack Lemmon.

The Salt Lake City native was so humble he never thought he would get the chance to work with a Hollywood icon.

“The first time I saw Jack Lemmon was in his office,” Brimley said as quoted by The Hollywood Reporter.

“I didn’t expect to work with him, I wanted his autograph.

Brimley is survived by his wife Beverly (seen alongside her husband in 2009) and their three children

Brimley is survived by his wife Beverly (seen alongside her husband in 2009) and their three children

In 1981, Brimley played Assistant US Attorney James A. Wells in the thriller Absence of Malice directed by Sydney Pollack, starring Paul Newman and Sally Field.

Pollack had Brimley in two of his other films. In 1979 he cast Brimley in The Electric Horseman.

The famous director would later play Brimley, who usually played sympathetic characters, as the villain responsible for the security of a twisted law firm in the 1993 hit The Firm, along with Tom Cruise.

Brimley made several other appearances in cult classics from the 70s and 80s like Cocoon, The Natural, The Thing, Hard Target and over 70 other films.

He has also made cameos on hit television series like Walker, Texas Ranger, and Seinfeld.

Brimley had an uncredited role as an extra on the 1969 Western hit True Grit, with John Wayne (right) and Glen Campbell (left)

Brimley had an uncredited role as an extra on the 1969 Western hit True Grit, with John Wayne (right) and Glen Campbell (left)

But Brimley was perhaps best known for appearing in commercials for Quaker Oats food products in the 1980s and 1990s.

He also appeared in commercials for Liberty Medical, a company specializing in diabetes testing supplies.

Brimley was diagnosed with diabetes in 1979. Since then he has worked to educate Americans about the disease.

For his diabetes awareness efforts, he received a Lifetime Service Award by the American Diabetes Association in 2008.

In recent years, Brimley’s pitchwork for Liberty Mutual had turned him into an internet sensation for his stretched pronunciation of diabetes as “diabeetus.”

He possessed the pronunciation in a tweet that drew hundreds of thousands of likes earlier this year.

Some of his most recent acting credits include the 2009 film Have You Heard Of The Morgans ?, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant.

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