Wilford Brimley, the beloved character actor who starred in such film as “Cocoon” and “The Natural,” died Saturday at age 85.
He had been sick for two months with a kidney ailment, his agent told the New York Times.
The Utah native found his breakthrough role as a recurring character in the 1970s period drama “The Waltons.” Soon, he played a range of often crotchety characters on the big screen, including a nuclear power plant engineer in 1979’s “The China Syndrome,” a tenacious district attorney in 1981’s “Absence of Malice,” a country music manager in 1983’s “Tender Mercies” and the manager of a perpetually losing baseball team in 1984’s “The Natural.”
His biggest role may have come in Ron Howard’s 1985 hit “Cocoon” as the leader of a group of outcast senior citizens who discover a swimming pool that magically restores their youth — a character that was significantly older than his then age of 49. He reprised the role in a 1988 sequel.
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In the 1980s, Brimley also gained famed as the on-camera spokesman for Quaker Oats and Liberty Medical, which sold diabetes-testing kits.
Other notable films included “The Thing” (1982),”High Road to China” (1983), “The Firm” (1993), “In & Out” (1997) and “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” (2009). He also had a cameo as an irascible postmaster general in a 1997 episode of “Seinfeld.”
After news of Brimley’s passing broke, several celebrities took to Twitter to pay their respects.
RIP Wilford Brimley
What an absolute legend.
I was lucky enough to make my first movie with him. I was only 8, but he treated me like a peer, and gave me confidence as an actor. Forever grateful for his kindness & generosity. Plus he was funny: pic.twitter.com/SY5L5m9zib
— Seth Green (@SethGreen) August 2, 2020
RIP Wilford Brimley – so many great performances, but I’ll never forget seeing him sing this surprisingly tender "It's Not Easy Being Green" https://t.co/xdvh9qGhMj
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) August 2, 2020
I am very sad to hear of Wilford Brimleys passing. He was a very early and passionate supporter of my Dads. I had the privilege of spending time with him on the trail, including a special bus tour with veterans. Sending love, prayers and gratitude for our experiences with him. pic.twitter.com/zRv5z01CNF
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) August 2, 2020
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
Wilford Brimley, after having a long life and amazing career as an actor, has died at the age of 85.
His performance as "Blair," (Senior Biologist of the U.S. Outpost 31), in my favorite sci-fi film, John Carpenter's: The Thing, will always stand out for me.
Rest easy, sir. pic.twitter.com/V7ZanopxRj
— Eddie McClintock (@EddieMcClintock) August 2, 2020
— Betty Buckley (@BettyBuckley) August 2, 2020
Wilford Brimley was a wonderful man and actor.
I had the great pleasure of working with him. He always made me laugh. https://t.co/kkWWr6FAYx
— Barbara Hershey (@BarbaraHershey8) August 2, 2020
Read original story Wilford Brimley, ‘Cocoon’ Star, Dies at 85 At TheWrap