Wilford Brimley has died. He was 85 years old.
There’s not much that I really like about twitter but I did enjoy following Wilford Brimley. Brimley was one of those actors who always played intimidating and serious characters so it was a nice surprise to find his twitter account and discover that he had a sense of humor and that he regularly interacted with his fans. Once, he even posted a picture of Andy Reid and asked, “When did I start coaching football?”
On screen, Brimley almost always played figures of quiet authority. Whenever you saw Brimley in a film or on a TV show, you knew that he was going to be playing a straight shooter who didn’t have any time for any foolishness or bullshit. One of his best performances was in Absence of Malice, where he put a weaselly Bob Balaban in his place. Of course, everyone knows him from his performance in Cocoon and his promise to his grandson that “we won’t ever die.” One of his best performances was in a rare bad guy role in The Firm. Personally, my favorite Wilford Brimley performance was his cameo as Postmaster General Henry Adkins on Seinfeld. “I’m also a general. And it’s the job of a general to, by God, get things done!”
Brimley also sold Quaker Oats and later, for a generation of viewers, he became the face of diabetes. A lot of jokes and memes were made about Brimley’s diabetes commercials but tell the truth. When Wilford Brimley said, “You need to check your blood sugar and you need to check it often,” you know damn well you immediately checked it.
I’m going to miss Wilford Brimley. I know I’m not the only one.
Wilford Brimley, R.I.P.