Sunday, April 14, 2024

Wilford Brimley, Character Actor Who Conyeyed Old School Warmth, Star of “Cocoon,” Dies At Age 85


When Ron Howard’s great movie, “Cocoon” was a massive hit in 1985, Wilford Brimley seemed like he was 85 years old. He was just 50, but the gang he was with– including Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Don Ameche– they were all at least 20 years his senior then. But Brimley was such a breakout star in “Cocoon”– after almost 20 years of lowkey terrific performances in good movies and bad TV shows–that everyone thought of him as a grandpa. And he made it work like crazy.

Wilford Brimley, RIP, age 85. He died today in Utah after an illness. Condolences to his family.

Brimley’s mid life rise to stardom is ironic because “Cocoon” about not ignoring older people. And after that, he would not be ignored. After “Cocoon,” it seemed like he was everywhere— TV, movies, commercials, you name it. But he was always a welcome presence.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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