Wilford Brimley, an actor everyone knows without always remembering why, has passed away at the age of 85. Brimley has some serious credits, including “The Natural”, “The Thing” and “Cocoon.” He starred in “Our House” on NBC. But, depending on your age, you may know him from something else entirely.
For many, the actor and his mustache are best remembered for his commercial work. He was in one million Quaker Oats commercials in the 80s and 90s but may best be remembered (again, depending on your age) by his diabetes awareness work. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) honored him in 2008 with an award to recognize his lifetime of service.
He passed away over the weekend in Utah after a protracted stay in the ICU for a myriad of health issues. His manager told CNN he was a ‘man you could trust.’
“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.”
His work with the American Diabetes Association and his mustache helped him earn some status as a cultural reference. As news of his passing hit social media, numerous celebrities praised the actor in tributes.
Stephen Colbert said he had so many great performances, but what he’ll never forget was his singing.
RIP Wilford Brimley – so many great performances, but I’ll never forget seeing him sing this surprisingly tender “It’s Not Easy Being Green” https://t.co/xdvh9qGhMj
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) August 2, 2020
— Jean-Claude Van Damme (@JCVD) August 2, 2020
Wilford Brimley was the real thing: a real cowboy, a great actor, a wonderful man. I’m going to miss you, Will. Rest in peace.
— John Carpenter (@TheHorrorMaster) August 2, 2020
Rob Schneider shared some great advice from Brimley about trust on a movie set…and revealed something else very cool.
Lastly…Wilford Brimley never told anyone, but after the Iron Curtain fell in Europe, he single handedly helped over 40 orphaned Romanian children get adopted and flown to the United States.
A truly marvelous human being…
Rest well my friend in God’s arms.
You done real good. pic.twitter.com/EAtWDV5OVJ
— Rob Schneider (@RobSchneider) August 2, 2020
And most importantly, many chimed in with their favorite performances of Brimley, exposing a generation that may be unfamiliar with his work as a character actor to some great performances.
Please don’t remember Wilford Brimley for the way he said “Diabeetus.” Watch “The Natural,” watch “Cocoon.” I’d argue no actor under 50 played an old man in those films better than he did. pic.twitter.com/Vg3amzdP7a
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 2, 2020
TV writer and comedian Chase Mitchell summed up maybe the best, as a guy who seems to “have been born an old man and stayed an old man his entire life, which is incredibly impressive.”
Wilford Brimley was one of those guys who seems to have been born an old man and stayed an old man his entire life, which is incredibly impressive. He fucking rules in The Thing. You should watch The Thing tonight. https://t.co/xxyBgaH7iY
— Chase Mitchell (@ChaseMit) August 2, 2020
RIP to a real one, and a man who lived quite a life, going from a horse wrangler to a movie star.
— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) August 2, 2020