Wilford Brimley, Quaker Oats Pitch Man and ‘Cocoon’ Star, Dead at 85

by Hunter Miller

Wilford Brimley, an actor known for his big-screen roles and Quaker Oats commercials, died on Saturday. He was 85.

Brimley’s manger, Lynda Bensky, tells CNN that he was hospitalized in St. George, Utah. He was on dialysis and receiving other treatment while in the ICU.

Bensky shared a statement following Brimley’s passing. “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.”

The longtime character actor’s film credits include “Cocoon,” “The Firm,” “The Natural,” and “The China Syndrome.” He also starred in television shows such as “Our House.” In the NBC series, Brimley portrayed a gruff widower who takes in his daughter-in-law ((Deidre Hall) and her three kids.

In addition to working as the Quaker Oats pitchman, Brimley appeared in ads for the American Diabetes Association. He used his raspy baritone voice to urge people to regularly check their blood sugar.

Brimley’s talent agent, Dominic Mancini, also released a statement about the actor’s death. “He was a wonderful man, a joy to be around, and his dry sense of humor and iconic voice left an everlasting impression on every person he met,” Mancini tells Hollywood Reporter. “I was lucky to call him a friend. To know Wilford was to love Wilford. He had an amazing career and sliced through the screen with his dry wit, stoic stature and powerful conveyance. His unique blend of unexpected comedy and indelible storytelling will always remain unmatched.”

Brimley is survived by his wife, Beverly, and three sons.

Stephen Colbert Pays Tribute to Wilford Brimley

After hearing the news of his death, comedian Stephen Colbert took to Twitter to pay tribute to Wilford Brimley. “RIP Wilford Brimley,” Colbert writes. “So many great performances, but I’ll never forget seeing him sing this surprisingly tender ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green.'”

[H/T CNN]