Actor Wilford Brimley dead at 85

Actor Wilford Brimley, who starred in more than 70 roles on television and on film and was a longtime spokesperson for Quaker Oats, died Saturday at his Utah home, the St. George News reported. He was 85.

Brimley had been sick for two months with a kidney ailment, his agent, Lynda Bensky, told The New York Times.

Brimley appeared in film classics such as “Cocoon,” “The Natural,” “The China Syndrome” and “The Thing.” He also appeared on TV in series such as “Kung Fu,” “The Waltons,” and “Our House.”

Brimley lived in the St. George area. The News confirmed Brimley’s death.

Brimley’s death was also reported by TMZ and confirmed by the Times.

Anthony Wilford Brimley was born in Salt Lake City on Sept. 27, 1934, according to IMDb. moved to California with his family when he was 6 years old, IMDb reported. He dropped out of high school to join the Marines and served on the Aleutian Islands for three years.

Brimley began his film career as an extra in Westerns, playing uncredited roles in “True Grit” and “Lawman.”

He spent his career as a notable character actor. In the 1985 film, “Cocoon,” Brimley, who was 50 years old at the time, played a character who was 25 years younger. He played Ted Spindler, a nuclear plant worker in “The China Syndrome”; was baseball manager Pop Fisher in “The Natural”; and played Dr. Blair in “The Thing.”

“Wilford’s a testy guy, not an easy guy to work with all the time, but he has great instincts,” Ron Howard, who directed “Cocoon,” told the Times in 1985. “Many of his scenes were totally improvised.”

His signature line in Quaker Oats commercials was his advice that eating the oatmeal was “the right thing to do.” Brimley also was a spokesperson for Liberty Medical, a company selling diabetes-testing supplies, the Times reported.

Brimley was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus in 1979, TMZ reported. In 2008, he was honored by the American Diabetes Association for his advocacy.