Wilford Brimley, the actor known for his work in Cocoon, The Natural and The Thing, has died. He was 85.
Brimley, whose credits also include The Electric Horseman and The Hotel New Hampshire, died Saturday at an ICU in St. George, Utah, a rep for the actor confirmed to Deadline. The actor had been on dialysis and experienced other medical problems leading up to his passing, the rep added.
Born in 1934 in Salt Lake City, Brimley had a film and television career with scores of roles to his name. From his time in the film and television industry, mainly in the 1970s, Brimley has taken on a wide variety of roles including Grandpa Sam Ferrans in Summer of the Monkeys, Joe Hollis in My Fellow Americans, governor in The Round and Round and William Devasher, the sinister head of security for a Mafia-associated law firm in Tom Cruise film The Firm .
His first credited feature film role was in 1979’s The China Syndrome as Ted Spindler, a friend and coworker of plant shift supervisor Jack Godell, played by Jack Lemmon. Later, Brimley made a brief, but pivotal, appearance in Absence of Malice as the curmudgeonly, outspoken Assistant U.S. Attorney James A. Wells.
He portrayed Pop Fisher, world-weary manager of a slumping baseball tea in The Natural in 1984. The following year, he landed his first leading role in Ron Howard’s Cocoon as Ben Luckett, leader of a group of geriatrics who encounter a magically reinvigorating swimming pool by their retirement home.
From 1986 to 1988, Brimley starred as Gus Witherspoon in the family drama Our House. He appeared on the show for 46 episodes. The actor worked alongside Deidre Hall, Shannen Doherty and Keri Houlihan, playing the family patriarch. He also had a recurring role on The Waltons and more recently had guest roles in Seinfeld, Walker, Texas Ranger and Homicide: Life on the Street, among others.
The actor’s final credit was as pastor in Juergen Peretzki and Stacey Peretzki 2017 film I Believe.
In addition to starring in various films and television series, Brimley was also the face of Quaker Oats throughout the 1990s. The actor appeared in multiple commercials for the quick oats brand.
He is survived by his wife Beverly and three sons.
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