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  • Eric J. Cullen

IN MEMORIAM: Wilford Brimley Passes Away At 85

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Wilford Brimley had a memorable career in Hollywood with roles that ranged from westerns, dramas, and one very memorable role in The Thing. Wilford Brimley passed away on Saturday at the age of 85.

Anthony Wilford Brimley was born September 27th, 1934 and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. As a teen, Brimley would leave high school early. A few years later he would join the Marines, serving between the years 1953 and 1956. He would attain the rank of Sergeant. After his service, Wilford would take on a mix of different jobs, work which includes being a bodyguard for Howard Hughes, and later working as a ranch hand and wrangler.

It was during the 1960s that Wilford Brimley would develop a friendship with Robert Duvall. It would be Duvall who would encourage Wilford to take up acting. Soon after, Brimley started getting work in westerns and filling in whenever extra riders were needed. He was given a small, uncredited role in True Grit, a film starring John Wayne and Glen Campbell.

The 1980s were a great time for Wilford Brimley's career. He would be cast as Dr. Blair in John Carpenter's The Thing, a film that would go on to become a horror classic. Wilford's friendship with Robert Duvall would help him secure a role in Tender Mercies, and then again in The Natural. In 1985, at the age of 49, Wilford Brimley would be cast in his most well-known role as Ben Luckett, in the sci-fi classic, Cocoon.

Wilford Brimley's acting career continued into his golden years and while he may not have had the biggest name in sci-fi or horror, Brimley's small contributions to the genres have not gone unnoticed. Something to keep in mind when you next watch The Thing.

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