Wilford Brimley

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Wilford Brimley
Wilford Brimley.jpg
Brimley at a screening of The Shining on October 22, 2012
BornAnthony Wilford Brimley
(1934-09-27) September 27, 1934 (age 79)
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
OccupationActor
Years active1969–present
Spouse(s)Lynne Brimley (deceased)
 
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Wilford Brimley
Wilford Brimley.jpg
Brimley at a screening of The Shining on October 22, 2012
BornAnthony Wilford Brimley
(1934-09-27) September 27, 1934 (age 79)
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
OccupationActor
Years active1969–present
Spouse(s)Lynne Brimley (deceased)

Anthony Wilford Brimley (born September 27, 1934)[1] is an American actor and comedian. He has appeared in such films as The China Syndrome, Cocoon, The Thing and The Firm. He had a recurring role on the 1970s television series The Waltons. Brimley has also done television commercials, including advertisements for Quaker Oats and Liberty Medical.[2]

Early life[edit]

Brimley was born Anthony Wilford Brimley in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 27, 1934,[2] where his father worked as a real estate broker.[3] Prior to his career in acting, Brimley dropped out of high school to serve in the United States Marine Corps, where he served in the Aleutian Islands for three years. He also worked as a bodyguard (for Howard Hughes), ranch hand, wrangler, and blacksmith.[1] He then began shoeing horses for film and television. He began acting in the 1960s as a riding extra in Westerns and a stunt man at the urging of his friend, actor Robert Duvall.[4]

Brimley married his wife, Lynne, on July 6, 1956. They had 4 sons together (James Charles, John Michael, William Carmen, and Lawrence Dean) and several grandchildren. Brimley and his wife were married until her death in June 2000.[5]

Career[edit]

Brimley was cast in the popular 1970s television series The Waltons as Walton's Mountain resident Horace Brimley, in seven appearances from 1974 through 1977.

Brimley became famous later in life for appearing in such films as The Hotel New Hampshire,[6] John Carpenter's The Thing,[7] and Cocoon.[7] In 2001, he starred in the Turner Network Television film Crossfire Trail[7] with Tom Selleck. He had an important role in The China Syndrome.[7] He often plays a gruff or stodgy old man, notably on the 1980s drama series Our House. His first characterization was in Absence of Malice, in which he played a small but key role as a curmudgeonly, outspoken James A. Wells,[8] Assistant U.S. Attorney General. He expanded on this characterization as the world-weary manager of a slumping baseball team in The Natural, a film in which his friend Duvall appeared as an antagonistic sportswriter.

Brimley was cast in the 1983 film Tender Mercies due to the urging of Robert Duvall, who was not getting along well with director Bruce Beresford and wanted "somebody down here that's on my side, somebody that I can relate to."[9] Beresford felt Brimley was too old for the part, but eventually agreed to the casting. Brimley, like Duvall, clashed with the director; during one instance when Beresford tried to advise Brimley on how Harry would behave, Duvall recalled Brimley responding: "Now look, let me tell you something, I'm Harry. Harry's not over there, Harry's not over here. Until you fire me or get another actor, I'm Harry, and whatever I do is fine 'cause I'm Harry."[9]

In a change from his "good guy" roles such as those in Our House, he played William Devasher, the ominous head of security for Bendini, Lambert & Locke in the Tom Cruise film The Firm (1993),[10] based on the novel by John Grisham.

Brimley has frequently appeared in commercials, notably a series of commercials for Quaker Oats[4] Oatmeal throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The Quaker commercials were famous for their slogan: "It's the right thing to do and the tasty way to do it." Brimley is also known for appearing in numerous television advertisements for Liberty Medical, a company specializing in home delivery of medical products such as diabetes testing supplies.

Brimley has been described as "a fine singer with a warm, rich voice".[11] In 1993, Brimley sang with the Cal State Northridge Jazz Band for a concert benefiting the college's Jazz Endowment Scholarship Fund; in 2004, he released This Time, The Dream's On Me, an album of jazz standards named after the Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer-penned title track.[11][12]

Personal life[edit]

Brimley is a Mormon.[13] Diagnosed with diabetes in 1979, he began working to raise awareness of the disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) honored Brimley in 2008 with an award to recognize his lifetime of service.[14] The ADA presented the award to him at the Port St. Lucie headquarters of Liberty Medical on December 19, 2008.[15] He has visited Veterans Administration hospitals and communities to advise patients on how to manage their diseases.

Brimley is an activist, paying from his own funds for advertisements to have Utah allow horse-race gambling.[7] He spoke against the banning of cockfighting in New Mexico on the basis of his support of individual rights.[16] Brimley also spoke at a 1998 Phoenix rally opposing an Arizona ballot proposition to ban cockfighting. Brimley argued that a ban could lead to efforts to restrict use of hunting dogs, which opponents of cockfighting called a distraction from the issue. Brimley said he travels to Arizona to attend cockfights.[17] Brimley enjoys playing poker[18] and has played in the World Series of Poker Main Event.[19] Brimley lent his support to John McCain in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.[20] In the days leading up to his selection for vice president, McCain jokingly stated that he would pick Brimley: "He's a former Marine and great guy and he's older than I am, so that might work."[21]

Brimley has resided in Greybull, Wyoming, since 2006.[22]

Filmography[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1968Bandolero!Stuntman
Uncredited
1969True GritStuntman
Uncredited
1971LawmanStuntman
Uncredited
1976The Oregon TrailLudlowTelevision film
1979The China SyndromeTed Spindler
1979The Electric HorsemanFarmer
1980BrubakerRogers
1980BorderlineUSBP Agent Scooter Jackson
1981Absence of MaliceAssistant U.S. Attorney General James A. Wells
1982Death ValleyThe Sheriff 
1982The ThingDr. Blair 
1983Tender MerciesHarry 
198310 to MidnightCaptain Maline 
1983High Road to ChinaBradley Tozer 
1983Tough EnoughBill Long 
1984Harry & SonTom Keach 
1984The Hotel New HampshireIowa Bob 
1984The Stone BoyGeorge Jansen 
1984The NaturalPop Fisher 
1984CountryOtis 
1984Terror in the AislesArchive footage
1985CocoonBenjamin Luckett 
1985Remo Williams: The Adventure BeginsAgency Director Harold Smith 
1985Shadows on the WallTheater Owner 
1985Ewoks: The Battle for EndorNoa Briqualon 
1985Murder in SpaceDr. Andrew McAllister 
1986JackalsSheriff Mitchell 
1986Act of VengeanceTony BoyleTelevision film
1987End of the LineWill Haney 
1988Cocoon: The ReturnBenjamin Luckett 
1989EternityKing/Eric 
1992Where the Red Fern Grows: Part IIGrandpa Will 
1993The FirmWilliam Devasher 
1993Hard TargetUncle Douvee 
1994Heaven SentSecurity Guard 
1995Mutant SpeciesDevro 
1995Last of the DogmenNarratorUncredited
1996My Fellow AmericansJoe Hollis 
1997In & OutFrank Brackett 
1997Lunker LakeThe Storyteller 
1998A Place to GrowJake 
1998ProgenyDr. David Wetherly 
1998Chapter PerfectChief Hawkins 
1998All My Friends Are CowboysCharlie 
1998Summer of the MonkeysGrandpa Sam Ferrans 
2000Comanche  
2001PC and the Web  
2001Brigham CityStu 
2001The Ballad of Lucy WhippleDeputy Sheriff Ambrose Scraggs 
2001Crossfire TrailJoe Gill 
2002Resurrection MaryMorty 
2002The Round and RoundGovernor 
2003The Road HomeCoach Weaver 
2009The Path of the WindHarry Caldwell
2009Did You Hear About the Morgans?Earl Granger 

Television[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1974–1977The WaltonsHorace Brimley8 episodes
1977The Oregon Trail2 episodes
1986Our HouseGus Witherspoon
1992The Boys of TwilightBill Huntoon
1995Walker, Texas RangerBurt MuellerEpisode: "War Zone"
1997SeinfeldUnited States Postmaster General Henry AtkinsEpisode: "The Junk Mail"

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Wilford Brimley biography". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved June 22, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Wilford Brimley Biography". Mahalo.com. Retrieved March 2, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Wilford Brimley Biography". FilmReference.com. Retrieved June 22, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Wilford Brimley Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved March 2, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Obituary: Lynne Bagley Brimley". Deseret News. June 17, 2000. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ Canby, Vincent (March 9, 1984). "'Hotel New Hampshire' From Best Seller". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Wilford Brimley at the Internet Movie Database
  8. ^ Absence of Malice at the Internet Movie Database
  9. ^ a b Bruce Beresford (actor), Robert Duvall (actor), Gary Hertz (director) (April 16, 2002). Miracles & Mercies. West Hollywood, California: Blue Underground. Retrieved February 1, 2008. 
  10. ^ The Firm at the Internet Movie Database
  11. ^ a b Fowler, James E. (February 26, 1993). "Actor Feeling His Oats as Singer: Wilford Brimley will perform with a jazz band at a benefit concert Saturday for a new CSUN scholarship fund". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Wilford Brimley: This Time the Dream's on Me". CDTracks. 2004. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  13. ^ Abanes, Richard (2009). "Chapter Two: Mormons in Movieland". Religion of the Stars: What Hollywood Believes and How It Affects You. Bloomington, Minnesota: Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group. ISBN 9780764206481. OCLC 263988104. 
  14. ^ "Inspiration And Expert Advice: Famous People: Wilford Brimley Biography". dlife.com. [dead link]
  15. ^ Blandford, Laurie K. (December 19, 2008). "Actor Wilford Brimley surprised with award from American Diabetes Association in Port St. Lucie". The St. Lucie News-Tribune (TCPalm). Retrieved June 22, 2009. 
  16. ^ Barnes, Peter (February 23, 2005). "Cockfighting still legal in New Mexico. N.M. Panel Rejects Cockfighting Ban Plan.". AllCreatures.org. Retrieved June 22, 2009. 
  17. ^ Molloy, Tim (November 1, 1998). "Wilford Brimley endorses cockfighting". Today's News-Herald. Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Associated Press. Retrieved March 2, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Wilford Brimley Biography". perfectpeople.com. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Event #27 - WSOP World Championship - No Limit Hold'em (Day 4) Results & Report". pokerpages.com. May 14, 2001. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  20. ^ Sabloff, Nick (January 5, 2008). "McCain's Unveils His Answer To Chuck Norris". The Huffington Post. 
  21. ^ "Carolina Decides". Time Warner Cable News North Carolina. August 28, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  22. ^ Matray, Margaret (December 26, 2009). "Making a Christmas Connection". Billings Gazette. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 

External links[edit]