Wilford Brimley, Iconic Actor and Diabetes Spokesperson, Dies at 85

Actor and diabetes spokesperson Wilford Brimley has died at the age of 85 after several days of fighting a kidney illness and being on dialysis in an intensive care unit in St. George, Utah. He was reportedly able to be transferred home from the hospital, where he passed away. He is survived by his wife, Beverly, and his three children.

Brimley, born in Utah in 1934, was known for his acting on television shows such as The Waltons (1974) and Our House (1986), as well as the movies Cocoon, The Thing, and The Natural. He appeared in The Wild Wild West Revisited, Amber Waves, The Big Black Pill, and Act of Vengeance, as well as in Quaker Oats commercials, Seinfeld, and Walker, Texas Ranger. All told, Brimley has had more than 70 acting credits to his name.

But he is perhaps best known, at least more recently, as a spokesperson for The American Diabetes Association and the star of Liberty Medical commercials, advocating for people with diabetes in the 1990s and 2000s.

Photo: YouTube/TheClassicSports

“Wilford Brimley was a man you could trust. He said what he meant and he meant what he said,” said his manager, Lynda Bensky. “He had a tough exterior and a tender heart. I’m sad that I will no longer get to hear my friend’s wonderful stories. He was one of a kind.”

Photo: YouTube/MDA Telethon and Wikimedia Commons

Brimley was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus in 1979, and he devoted several years of his life to creating awareness for the disease. He urged people to check their blood sugar often to avoid life-threatening hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic episodes and to live the healthiest life possible.

See one of Wilford Brimley’s Liberty Medical commercials below. This great man will always be remembered for his advocacy. Rest in peace, Wilford.

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