Character actor Wilford Brimley, whose myriad credits include TV’s The Waltons and Our House and the movie Cocoon, has died at the age of 85.
According to TMZ, Brimley passed away in his Utah home on Saturday morning. He had recently spent days in an ICU hospital unit on dialysis.
Brimley’s breakthrough role came in 1974, when he was cast in the recurring part of Horace Brimley on the aforementioned family drama The Waltons. He would go on to appear in more than a dozen made-for-TV movies, including The Wild Wild West Revisited, Amber Waves, The Big Black Pill and Act of Vengeance. He eventually found a starring role as family patriarch Gus Witherspoon on the short-lived NBC drama Our House, which debuted in 1986 and ran for two seasons. (Read Diedre Hall’s tribute.) Additional TV credits included episodes of Seinfeld and Walker, Texas Ranger.
Among his most memorable TV work, though, was a series of ads for Quaker Oats breakfast cereal throughout the 1980s, as well as a string of commercials for the diabetes testing supplies service Liberty Medical. He appeared as the latter’s spokesman in the late ’90s and early aughts and was satirized by the likes of Family Guy and Saturday Night Live.
On the film side, Brimley got his big break in 1979, when he appeared opposite Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas in The China Syndrome. He also co-starred in the cult films The Thing, The Natural and Cocoon. All told, he had more than 70 acting credits to his name.
Brimley is survived by his wife Beverly and his three children.