With varied rugged experiences ranging from blacksmith to horse trainer, portly, handlebar-mustached Wilford Brimley entered films in the 1960s as a cowboy stunt man. Save for a few billed appearances on TV cowboy series like Gunsmoke, Brimley worked primarily in supporting roles until finally achieving star status in the 1980s via his gruff, fatherly roles in such films as The Thing (1981), Hotel New Hampshire (1984), The Natural (1984) and Cocoon (1986). On television, Wilford Brimley starred in the 1980s family dramedy Our House. In addition to his film and television work, Brimley worked for a time as the commercial spokesperson for the Quaker Oats company.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Served in the Marines.
- Was employed as a bodyguard for Howard Hughes.
- First exposure to films came when he worked in stables that furnished horses for movies.
- Friends with Robert Duvall, who encouraged him to take up acting.
- Known not only for his acting in such films as The Natural (1984) and Cocoon (1985), but also for his TV commercials for Quaker Oats.
- In 2004, released a jazz album, This Time, the Dream's on Me.
- Diagnosed with diabetes in 1979, he is active in the battle against the disease, and was honored for those efforts in 2008 by the American Diabetes Association.