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Wilford Brimley, an actor and a Quaker Oats pitchman, dies at 85

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Wilford Brimley, an actor and a Quaker Oats pitchman, dies at 85

 
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(CNN)

Wilford Brimley, the mustachioed actor who appeared on the big screen, television shows and Quaker Oats commercials, has died. He was 85.

Brimley died Saturday while hospitalized in St. George, Utah, his manager Lynda Bensky told CNN. He'd been at the ICU, where he was getting treatment for medical problems and was on dialysis.
"Wilford Brimley was a man you could trust. He said what he meant and he meant what he said," Bensky 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."
 
His movie credits date to the 1970s and include "Cocoon," "The Natural" and "The Thing." He also starred in several television shows, including NBC's "Our House" as a gruff widower who asks his daughter-in-law and her children to live with him.
 
"RIP Wilford Brimley -- so many great performances, but I'll never forget seeing him sing this surprisingly tender 'It's Not Easy Being Green,'" Stephen Colbert said.
Brimley is survived by his wife, Beverly, and three sons.
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Brimley, who sometimes looked older than he really was, frequently proved himself a great scene stealer.

In "The China Syndrome" (1979), he played a California nuclear plant worker who told the truth about what really happened during a near-catastrophic accident. He talked to the media and absolved the plant's martyred supervisor (Jack Lemmon, in an Oscar-nominated performance) of any blame in the matter.

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In "The Electric Horseman" (1979), Brimley's character -- a concerned citizen --rescued the fugitive ex-rodeo champion Sonny Steele (Robert Redford), who had become a cause célèbre by absconding with a $12 million throughbred mistreated by its corporate owners.

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Brimley was unforgettable as Assistant U.S. Attorney General James J. Wells in "Absence of Malice" (1981). His character showed up near the end of the film and lowered the boom on an overzealous federal prosecutor (Bob Balaban) and a district attorney (Don Hood) responsible for damaging the reputation of a Miami businessman (Paul Newman). Sally Field also starred as the newspaper reporter whose stories further damaged the businessman's reputation.

In the 1984 baseball fable "The Natural," Brimley played Pop Fisher -- manager of the hapless 1939 New York Knights ball club. There are some nice moments when he and assistant coach Red Blow (Richard Farnsworth) amuse themselves during batting practice by playing a version of "Name That Tune." Both Brimley and Farnsworth were stunt performers before they became acclaimed character actors.

Wilford Brimley's Richard Farnsworth Story - YouTube

 One of Brimley's best scenes in "The Natural" took place moments before the aging rookie Roy Hobbs (Redford) walked into the Knights' dugout for the first time.

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Not long ago I looked him up. At the time I thought he had died and I was surprised to see he was still living.

He always played older, and I remember my grandparents liking him on the TV series Our House. I bet my grandparents, who were born in the 1920s thought he was their age. Though he was actually born in 1934.

There were a lot of great character actors in the 1980s on TV and in feature films. We like to talk about the character actors of the golden age of Hollywood. But character actors were still in demand in the late 20th Century. People like Wilford Brimley, Richard Farnsworth, Pat Corley (another favorite of mine), Tom Bosley, Gordon Jump, Jeffrey Tambor, Rip Torn and Dennis Franz.

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And the Hollywood passings just keep on coming....:(

I adored Wilford Brimley, I always considered him one of the best character actors in the 70's, 80's, 90's, and so on.

Whether his character's demeanor was grumpy, or ruthless, or wise beyond years, he was always great to watch onscreen.

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Loved him in "Absence of Malice" and he played a really, really great bad guy in "The Firm." 

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"What's important is that when we get where we're going, we'll never be sick, we won't get any older and we won't ever die."

Best line in COCOON delivered by Brimley!

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1 hour ago, yanceycravat said:

"What's important is that when we get where we're going, we'll never be sick, we won't get any older and we won't ever die."

Best line in COCOON delivered by Brimley!

And he was 55 when he made that movie. By far the youngest of the stars except Steve Gutenberg & the girl (Tahnee Welch?)

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1 hour ago, yanceycravat said:

"What's important is that when we get where we're going, we'll never be sick, we won't get any older and we won't ever die."

Best line in COCOON delivered by Brimley!

For me, in that movie, Brimley's best line was---

"Blue steel!  Cat couldn't scratch it!"  :D  Referring to well, you know.....  ;) 

Always liked him in a wide variety of roles too.  What bummer news to wake up to.  :( 

Sepiatone

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Fine character actor. First noticed him in a small role in The China Syndrome.

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3 hours ago, yanceycravat said:

"What's important is that when we get where we're going, we'll never be sick, we won't get any older and we won't ever die."

Best line in COCOON delivered by Brimley!

Too bad there's no Fountain of Youth here on Earth.

(or swimming pool of youth)

MV5BNmMxYjRiYjctY2U1Zi00MjM2LTliNmYtYWQ0

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I know him best from this video that was parodied on the internet several times.

 

RIP

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2 hours ago, hamradio said:

Too bad there's no Fountain of Youth here on Earth.

(or swimming pool of youth)

MV5BNmMxYjRiYjctY2U1Zi00MjM2LTliNmYtYWQ0

Love Cocoon and Cocoon 2. What a cast. I never tire of watching both films. Ron Howard did a wonderful job with Cocoon, it was a different director for the 2nd one, but enjoyable. So much fun seeing all these great actors together. 2 Gem films.

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