Wilford Brimley–‘The Thing’, ‘Cocoon’ Actor–Passes Away

by Thomas Tuna

The beloved character actor Wilford Brimley–who made his mark on both the big and small screens–has passed away at age 85.

The man with the memorable mustache reportedly passed away at his home in Utah following a stay of several days in the ICU wing of a local hospital, according to CNN.

Brimley–perhaps most fondly recognized as the personable spokesperson and face of Quaker Oats in numerous TV ads–will be remembered by horror and fantasy fans for his roles in 1982’s The Thing and 1985’s Cocoon.

The then-unknown Brimley portrayed Dr. Blair in John Carpenter’s cult classic The Thing, which follows an expedition to Antarctica that finds a mysterious “thing”–a parasitic extra-terrestrial life form that assimilates and then imitates other organisms. The film–written by Bill Lancaster–also starred Kurt Russell.

Brimley also had a key role in the Oscar-winning Cocoon–from director Ron Howard–portraying Ben Luckett, the leader of a group of elderly individuals who discovers an alien “fountain of youth”. He also appeared in the sequel–Cocoon: The Return.

The actor–who also was active as a diabetes education spokesperson–started his career in Hollywood in uncredited parts in Bandolero! and John Wayne’s original True Grit in the 1960s. His first credited role was in The China Syndrome.

Brimley also appeared in The NaturalThe Electric HorsemanTender Mercies and The Firm. His television credits included roles on The Waltons and Our House. And, displaying his singing chops, he even cut a jazz album in 2004, “This Time, The Dream’s On Me”.

Brimley is survived by wife Beverly; sons James, John, William and Lawrence; and several grandchildren.

The staff of Horror News Network extends its condolences to Brimley’s family, friends and colleagues.

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