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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.