Brimley at a screening of The Shining on October 22, 2012
|Born||Anthony Wilford Brimley
September 27, 1934
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Lynne Brimley (1956-2000; her death)|
Anthony Wilford Brimley (born September 27, 1934) is an American actor. 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 the Quaker Oats Company and Liberty Medical.
Brimley was born Anthony Wilford Brimley in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 27, 1934, where his father worked as a real estate broker. 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. 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.
Brimley married his wife, Lynne, on July 6, 1956. They had four 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.
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, John Carpenter's The Thing, and Cocoon. In 2001, he starred in the Turner Network Television film Crossfire Trail with Tom Selleck (Brimley's second time with Selleck, after having worked together in the 80s film High Road to China). He had an important role in The China Syndrome. He often plays a gruff or stodgy old man, notably on the 1980s drama series Our House, with Deidre Hall, Chad Allen and Shannen Doherty. His first characterization was in Absence of Malice, in which he played a small but key role as a curmudgeonly, outspoken James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney. 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." 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."
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), based on the novel by John Grisham.
Brimley has frequently appeared in commercials, notably a series of commercials for Quaker Oats 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". 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.
Brimley is a Mormon. 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. The ADA presented the award to him at the Port St. Lucie headquarters of Liberty Medical on December 19, 2008. 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. He spoke against the banning of cockfighting in New Mexico on the basis of his support of individual rights. 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. Brimley enjoys playing poker and has played in the World Series of Poker Main Event. Brimley lent his support to John McCain in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. 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."
|1976||The Oregon Trail||Ludlow||Television film|
|1979||The China Syndrome||Ted Spindler|
|1979||The Electric Horseman||Farmer|
|1980||Borderline||USBP Agent Scooter Jackson|
|1981||Absence of Malice||Assistant U.S. Attorney General James A. Wells|
|1982||Death Valley||The Sheriff|
|1982||The Thing||Dr. Blair|
|1983||10 to Midnight||Captain Maline|
|1983||High Road to China||Bradley Tozer|
|1983||Tough Enough||Bill Long|
|1984||Harry & Son||Tom Keach|
|1984||The Hotel New Hampshire||Iowa Bob|
|1984||The Stone Boy||George Jansen|
|1984||The Natural||Pop Fisher|
|1984||Terror in the Aisles||Archive footage|
|1985||Cocoon||Benjamin 'Ben' Luckett|
|1985||Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins||Agency Director Harold Smith|
|1985||Shadows on the Wall||Theater Owner|
|1985||Ewoks: The Battle for Endor||Noa Briqualon|
|1985||Murder in Space||Dr. Andrew McAllister|
|1986||Act of Vengeance||Tony Boyle||Television film|
|1987||End of the Line||Will Haney|
|1988||Cocoon: The Return||Benjamin 'Ben' Luckett|
|1992||Where the Red Fern Grows: Part II||Grandpa Will|
|1993||The Firm||William Devasher|
|1993||Hard Target||Uncle Douvee|
|1994||Heaven Sent||Security Guard|
|1995||Last of the Dogmen||Narrator||Uncredited|
|1995||The Good Old Boys||C.C. Tarpley||Television film|
|1996||My Fellow Americans||Joe Hollis|
|1997||In & Out||Frank Brackett|
|1997||Lunker Lake||The Storyteller|
|1998||A Place to Grow||Jake|
|1998||Progeny||Dr. David Wetherly|
|1998||Chapter Perfect||Chief Hawkins|
|1998||All My Friends Are Cowboys||Charlie|
|1998||Summer of the Monkeys||Grandpa Sam Ferrans|
|2001||PC and the Web|
|2001||The Ballad of Lucy Whipple||Deputy Sheriff Ambrose Scraggs|
|2001||Crossfire Trail||Joe Gill|
|2002||The Round and Round||Governor|
|2003||The Road Home||Coach Weaver|
|2009||The Path of the Wind||Harry Caldwell|
|2009||Did You Hear About the Morgans?||Earl Granger|
|1974–1977||The Waltons||Horace Brimley||8 episodes|
|1977||The Oregon Trail||2 episodes|
|1986–1988||Our House||Gus Witherspoon|
|1992||The Boys of Twilight||Bill Huntoon|
|1995||Walker, Texas Ranger||Burt Mueller||Episode: "War Zone"|
|1997||Seinfeld||United States Postmaster General Henry Atkins||Episode: "The Junk Mail"|
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- Lawrence, Tom, ‘Just a feller,’ Actor Wilford Brimley reflects on long career, stars he’s known and the music he loves to sing, Powell Tribune, 20 March 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2015. "Of course, Brimley has been around a lot of famous people. He was a bodyguard for reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, although he doesn’t care to discuss that very much. “He was a good guy,” he said, adding that Hughes paid him well. Hughes preferred to hire members of the Church of Latter-day Saints as aides and staffers, and Brimley himself is a member of the LDS church."
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- Absence of Malice at the Internet Movie Database
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- The Firm at the Internet Movie Database
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- "Wilford Brimley: This Time the Dream's on Me". CDTracks. 2004. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- 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.
- "Inspiration And Expert Advice: Famous People: Wilford Brimley Biography". dlife.com.[dead link]
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- "Wilford Brimley Biography". perfectpeople.com. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- "Event #27 - WSOP World Championship - No Limit Hold'em (Day 4) Results & Report". pokerpages.com. May 14, 2001. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- Sabloff, Nick (January 5, 2008). "McCain's Unveils His Answer To Chuck Norris". The Huffington Post.
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