‘Cocoon’ Star & Face of Quaker Oats Wilford Brimley Dies at 85

Our House Wilford Brimley
©Lorimar/courtesy Everett Collection
Wilford Brimley in Our House (1986-1988)

After over 50 years in the film and television industry, character actor Wilford Brimley has died at age 85.

TMZ reports Brimley, most recognized for his role in the movie Cocoon as well as his commercials for Quaker Oats and diabetes testing for Liberty Medical, passed away on Saturday after spending days in the ICU on dialysis.

The actor’s most recent role was in 2017 Christian film, I Believe, and his last major project was 2009’s Did You Hear About the Morgans? with Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant. The longtime actor (with over 70 film and TV credits) first made a splash on the small screen in The Waltons in 1974 as Horace Brimley, and he continued his success in NBC’s Our House as Gus Witherspoon as well as with smaller roles in Seinfeld, and Walker, Texas Ranger.

Brimley also starred in many made-for-TV movies, including The Wild Wild West Revisited, Amber Waves, The Big Black Pill, and Act of Vengeance. But what many may remember most from Brimley was his work as the face of Quaker Oats breakfast cereal in the 1980s, as well as the spokesperson for diabetes testing in the ’90s and early ’00s for Liberty Medical.

Outside of TV, Brimley gained recognition in movies like 1979’s The China Syndrome alongside Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, and Jack Lemmon, as well as 1984’s The Natural with Robert Redford and 1993’s The Firm with Tom Cruise. Many will best remember him as one of the elderly people revived in Ron Howard’s 1985 cult classic Cocoon, though Tom Selleck fans might remember his work alongside the Blue Bloods star in his first major starring role in 1983’s High Road to China.

HIGH ROAD TO CHINA, Wilford Brimley, Tom Selleck, 1983. ©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

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