Hollywood is in mourning today after Wilford Brimley, who worked his way up from being a stunt rider to becoming a seasoned character actor, passed away at the age of 85.
Fox News reported that Brimley’s death was confirmed by his manager Lynda Bensky, who said that he passed away on Saturday morning at a hospital in Utah, where he had been on dialysis as he suffered various ailments.
rest in peace to the legend wilford brimley pic.twitter.com/puTBJHUQcW
— nick usen (@nickusen) August 2, 2020
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“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.”
Though Brimley had 77 acting credits to his name, he was arguably best known for his role in Cocoon, in which he portrayed of a group of seniors who discover an alien pod that rejuvenates them. The film won two Oscars in 1985, including a Best Supporting Actor win for Don Ameche.
Wilford Brimley will always be the manager of the New York Knights in “The Natural.” I don’t care that the movie is a feel good retelling of the book. I loved it when I was six years old. pic.twitter.com/zInMy7quPz
— Rob Hart (@RobHartWBBM) August 2, 2020
Brimley later appeared in the 1988 sequel Cocoon: The Return. Other famous roles of Brimley’s included Robert Redford’s grizzled baseball manager in The Natural, and a tough investigator in The Firm.
Make the diabeetus jokes all you want but just know Wilford Brimley was a god damn MENACE in The Firm. Such an underrated actor pic.twitter.com/ZbFHQuAE5S
— Paul Ehrsam (@PaulEhrsam) August 2, 2020
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In his later years, Brimley served as a spokesperson for Quaker Oats, and in recent years, he appeared in a series of diabetes spots that turned him into a social media star.
RIP Wilford Brimley.
You go on home now. The diabeetus can't hurt you anymore. pic.twitter.com/5abkDx10g7
— eli (@_mrsoto518) August 2, 2020
Barbara Hershey, who worked with Brimley on 1995′s Last of the Dogmen, described him as “a wonderful man and actor. … He always made me laugh.” John Woo, who directed Brimley as Uncle Douvee in 1993′s Hard Target, said 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.”
After growing up around horses in Utah, Brimley spent twenty years traveling around the West and working at ranches and race tracks. He slowly began appearing in movie and television roles that involved horses, making appearances in movies like True Grit and shows like Gunsmoke in the 1960s.
Brimley soon became friends with Hollywood star Robert Duvall, who encouraged him to try and get more substantial acting roles. His big break came when he scored the important role of a nuclear power plant engineer in The China Syndrome in 1979.
I was very sad to hear that actor Wilford Brimley passed away today. 🕊 His beautiful, humble, and fierce characters in ‘The China Syndrome’ and ‘The Natural’ are two performances I love. What an amazing actor, Rest In Peace sir ♥️ pic.twitter.com/OR1SHsBKfs
— Piper Perabo #StayHome (@PiperPerabo) August 2, 2020
“Training? I’ve never been to acting classes, but I’ve had 50 years of training,” Brimley said in a 1984 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,” he added. “The camera photographs the truth — not what I want it to see, but what it sees. The truth.”
This piece originally appeared in UpliftingToday.com and is used by permission.
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