Wilford Brimley, Mustachioed Star Of Meme And Screen, Dies At 85

Wilford Brimley, the star of Cocoon, commercials for Quaker Oats, and, of course, the thrust behind pronouncing diabetes “diabeetus,” passed away in a hospital bed on Saturday at the age of 85.

According to his agent, Brimely suffered from a kidney ailment for the last two months.

With his thick mustache, round glasses and cantankerous, yet dulcet, droll, Wilford Brimley became a star in the 1980s, following a spate of guest spots on the 70s staple The Waltons. After a breakout performance in the 1979 nuclear cover-up thriller The China Syndrome, Brimley appeared in John Carpenter’s snow-covered sci-fi masterpiece The Thing as the ax-wielding madman Dr. Blair.


Three years later, Brimley starred opposite Steve Guttenberg in Ron Howard’s geriatric love alien fable Cocoon. The role would cement Brimley in the American consciousness as the cranky, bespectacled, and, yes, mustachioed grandfather of the cinema.

In a tweet, Howard paid tribute to the late actor, honoring Brimley’s sternness and instincts.

Brimley continued to work as an actor in films, such as the 1993 Tom Cruise vehicle The Firm, but he became equally notable for his commercial work. As the spokesman for Quaker Oats, he sold oatmeal with a taste of nostalgia and warmth. However, it was his Liberty Medical spots in the late 90s, warning customers about the dangers of “diabeetus,” that made him a star online. The meme became an essential clip of early YouTube, YMTND and meme culture.


His bizarre pronunciation of the ailment gave him a second life online that he was all-too-eager to play into, with his final tweet, posted just hours before his death, referencing the meme.

Online, people mourned the loss of Brimley, the actor, the spokesman and the meme, a consummate entertainer of warmth, talent and good humor.

Source – Know Your Meme News


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