Steve August 2, 2020
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Wilford Brimley, the mustachioed actor whose folksy style made him a staple on the big screen, TV shows and commercials, died Saturday at the age of 85, his manager said.

He is survived by wife Beverly and three sons.

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The Salt Lake City native died in an intensive care unit in St. George, Utah, manager Lynda Bensky said. He had been on dialysis and suffered multiple medical issues, she said.

“Wilford Brimley was a man you could trust,” Bensky said. “He said what he meant and he meant what he said. 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.”

Brimley was a regular character on the 1970s television hit “The Waltons” and the next decade found himself again embedded on a hit show, “Our House.”

His big-screen credits include “Cocoon,” “The Natural” and “The Firm,” in which he portrayed a law firm’s security chief who’s keeping an eye on a young lawyer played by Tom Cruise.

But it was Brimley’s work as an advertising pitchman that brought his mustache to millions of new viewers. He peddled Quaker Oats and cautioned America about diabetes for the American Diabetes Association.

His pronunciation of diabetes made him endearing to comedians and even to those who suffered from the disease. In 2018, the website Diabetes Daily proclaimed him “Mr. Diabeetus.”

Image: Dennis RomeroDennis Romero

Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.

Diana Dasrath

Diana Dasrath is entertainment producer and senior reporter for NBC News covering all platforms.

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