American actor and singer Anthony Wilford Brimley, known for his roles in the Oscar-winning movie Cocoon and The Firm, has died at the age of 85. His manager Lynda Bensky said the actor died Saturday morning at St.George Hospital, Utah. He was on dialysis and had several other medical problems.
Wilford Brimley: Watch his Story
His on-screen breakthrough came when he was cast in the 1970s television series The Waltons as Walton’s Mountain resident Horace Brimley, in which he had seven appearances. Before he was into acting, he dropped out of high school to join the Marines and served in the Aleutian Islands for three years. Later he did more significant roles in his 40s and 50s.
Wilford Brimley is famous for his roles like his grizzled baseball manager in ‘The natural’ opposite Robert Redford’s bad-luck phenomenon. His other works with Redford are in “Brubaker” and “The Electric Horseman.”
Being a Utah native, he grew up around horses, Brimley spent two decades traveling the west and worked at ranches and race tracks. Appearing in a series of diabetes spots turned him into a social media sensation after he pronounced diabetes as “diabeetus.” In “Natural” (1984), Brimley appeared as Pop Fisher, a world-weary manager of a slumping baseball team.
Though he never was trained as an actor, he got his turn to act after winning a role as a nuclear power plant engineer. Training? I’ve never been to acting classes, but I’ve had 50 years of training,” he commented in a 1984 Associated Press interview. He also added that his experiences as an extra helped him to learn about camera techniques.
Apart from as an actor, he was also into jazz. He made albums “This Time the Dream’s On Me” and Wilford Brimley with the Jeff Hamilton Trio.”