KTEP - El Paso, Texas

'Cocoon' Actor Wilford Brimley Dies At 85

Aug 2, 2020
Originally published on August 2, 2020 11:05 am

Wilford Brimley, the mustached actor known for Cocoon, The Natural and The Firm, has died. He was 85.

The actor died Saturday morning at a Utah hospital, according to his manager, Lynda Bensky. He was on dialysis and had several medical issues.

"Wilford Brimley was a man you could trust," Bensky said. "He said what he meant and he meant what he said. He had a gruff 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."

He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 27, 1934. Brimley is best known for his role in Cocoon, where he was one of a group of older adults who discover aliens and gain youthful rejuvenation from them. The film won two Academy Awards, and Brimley returned for a 1988 sequel.

On the small screen, Brimley was also known for his work as the Quaker Oats spokesman in a series of commercials in the '80s and '90s.


The actor was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus in 1979 and had worked to raise awareness of the disease. He became a beloved Internet meme after appearing in a Liberty Medical ad because of his pronunciation of diabetes. The video earned him the name "diabeetus" guy, a moniker he personally accepted in a tweet.


Brimley was also a talented singer and musician, and has released several albums including "This Time, the Dream's On Me," and "Wilford Brimley with the Jeff Hamilton Trio." In a 2011 interview with Craig Ferguson, the actor broke out a harmonica to play a rendition of "Oh, Susannah"

He is survived by his wife Beverly and three sons.

: 8/02/20

An earlier version of this story mistakenly said Wilford Brimley appeared in a Liberty Mutual ad. He appeared in an ad for Liberty Medical.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.