Art LaFleur, who is known for his role as Babe Ruth in the cult classic The Sandlot has reportedly passed away at the age of 78.
According to TMZ, The Sandlot star died on Wednesday (November 16th) after a 10-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. His wife Shelley revealed to the media outlet that the actor passed away in his home surrounded by his family. It was also revealed that LaFleur was still cracking jokes to make his family laugh in the days leading up to his passing.
Shelley described The Sandlot star as being a “generous and selfless” man. She said the qualities carried over into his career. “But more importantly, it was who he was for his family and friends.”
Along with The Sandlot, LaFleur appeared in other well-known films, including Field of Dreams, First Kid, The Replacements, Bad Guys, A Cinderella Story, and The Santa Clause. He was also on TV shows such as House, The Practice, The Magnificent Seven, Matlock, and Home Improvement. His last project was in 2017 in the TV film Dive. He starred in the film with Blake hEron, Steph DuVall, and Paul Prado.
‘The Sandlot’ Star Art LaFleur Shares More Details About His Acting Career Through the Years
During a 2011 interview with MediaMikes, Art LaFleur opened up about what films he was known for.
“It used to be Field of Dreams, then later Santa Clause. But lately, it’s been The Sandlot. You know it’s funny, every once in a while someone will come up and say, ‘Hey you’re Art LaFleur!’ They’ll use my real name. And I’m so shocked by that.”
LaFleur also admitted that he can understand somebody recognizing him from one of those films. But when someone knows his actual name, he’s pretty surprised. “I’m always recognized for The Sandlot. In fact, just yesterday, I had somebody say, ‘Hey, Babe Ruth! How ya’ doing, Babe?’”
When asked what it felt like to step into the role of the baseball icon in The Sandlot, LaFleur stated, “When I went to read for the part…I had just read “The Babe,” a biography of Babe Ruth. So when I went into the audition I went in ‘as’ Babe. I wore a newsboy kind of hat. I went in with a cigar…the Babe always had a cigar.”
The Sandlot castmate went on to reveal how he got into acting, to begin with. He recalled that a friend actually convinced him to become an actor. He decided to move out to California in 1975 when he was 32-years-old.
“I thought I wanted to be a writer and the only person I knew out here was an actor that I had known in Chicago. He convinced me that an acting class would help my writing.”