Wilford Brimley: Life of the Quaker Oats Man
People may not know his name at first but when they see his face, he will easily be recognized as the man in the many Quaker Oats commercials. He’ll tell you the best way to make that tasty bowl of oats but before and after that he had an interesting life. Here is the story of the man in a cowboy hat and suspenders!
THE MAN FROM UTAH
The old stocky man that was seen on screen was born in Salt Lake, Utah, on the 27th day of September 1934. He was born to a father who was a real estate broker. Before Anthony Wilford Brimley was known for his acting career, he dropped out of High School to serve in the United States Marine Corps.
HE DID SO MANY THINGS
Wilford served in Aleutian Island for 3 years and worked as a bodyguard for billionaire Howard Hughes afterward. He also became a ranch hand, a wrangler, and a blacksmith. After that, he began as a farrier shoeing horses for film and television in the western and that’s when he eventually got recruited for stunts.
PALS WITH DUVAL
In one of his interviews with the Los Angeles Times, he told them that he became friends with Bob Duval. “I met him on certainly one of the horse opera TV offers. I used to be fascinated with what he was in a position to do as an actor. I’d by no means see something prefer it.” He said.
It was Duval who encouraged him to develop his acting skills and after Wilford got his SAG card, he landed his first speaking role ion the CBS Western Lancer. He was just an extra at a time as he started his career in film when there was a demand for people ho could ride horses.
LARGE BREAK BEFORE QUAKER OATS HAPPENED
When he was forged into a recurring position within the in style in 1970s TV collection called The Waltons, Wilton Brimley finally obtained his large break as he played the role of a mountaineer named Horace Brimley. He did so many films in the 1970s-80s that made him famous!
He starred in The Electric Horseman in 1979, Absence of Malice in 1981, The Firm in 1983 where he starred as a sinister security chief. These three films are all Sydney Pollack Movies. He then appeared in the 1986-88 NBC family drama Our House as a retired widower.
ORIGIN OF THE DIA-BEETUS MEME
Wilford has been diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus in 1979 and he became a health and diabetes conscious. He was featured in a series of commercials as Liberty Medical's spokesperson since 1999 as he raised awareness for Diabetes and that’s when his signature pronunciation of the word as “Dia-beetus” was heard.
THE TASTY WAY TO DO IT
As he became a spokesperson for diabetes education in the late 70s after he learned that he had the disease, it led him to his gig with the Quaker Oats brand in the 80s and 90s. He is and will be remembered as the man who encouraged the commercial viewers to eat healthy cereal because "it’s the right thing to do."
THE FIRST FAMILY
Wilford Brimley married Lynne Bagley Brimley when she was just 19 years old in the year 1956. She was a known actress who was famous for the film Stone Boy in 1984. She, unfortunately, died in the year 2000 in Salt Lake City, Utah due to health problems. She died at the age of 63.
Brimley and Bagley had four sons together; James Charles, John Michael, William Carmen, and Lawrence Dean. They had also several grandchildren. It can be said that the couple had a happy marriage for they stayed together until the death of his loving wife, Lynn Bagley.
HE FOUND LOVE AGAIN AT 73
Seven years after his 1st wife’s death, Wilford married his second wife Beverly Berry, when he was 73 years old on October 31, 2007. Together they founded nonprofit organizations Hand Across the Saddle (HATS) in the Big Horn Basin in 2009. Although Wilford had four children with his first wife, he did not bear any more kids with Beverly.
LESSER-KNOWN SIDE OF HIM
The actor is mostly known for his character in films and famous commercials, but he should also be recognized for his good singing voice. As he plays the character of different cantankerous old guys with good hearts, he also has a lifelong love for music especially jazz and standards.
“I’ve always had a love for music,” he said. “I grew up in a home filled with music.” He once performed with Ray Brown Tribute Trio which includes Jeff Hamilton, Christoph Luty, and Larry Fuller, during the Northwest Jazz Fest in Powell. This goes to show that the guy really loves jazz!
As people are amazed and shocked these past few days that the actor had a musician hiding inside him, John Deihl, the Jurassic Park III actor, already knew about what Wilford can do. had heard Brimley sing “Fraulein” probably half a dozen times. “He had a beautiful, mellow baritone voice,” Diehl told the Deseret News. “He could really sing a ballad.”
HIS FAVE SPORT AND FAVE FRIEND
Brimley once admitted that he is a baseball fan. He did not play but he just thought that It was lots of fun because he got to be with his favorite friend, Dick Farnsworth. Richard Farnsworth’s career life is almost the same as Brimley. He was also just a stuntman before becoming a movie star. Oh, how far he's come!
WORKING FOR A BILLIONAIRE
Brimley has met so many famous people, of course being one himself, but he has worked for billionaire Howard Hughes as a bodyguard before his career blew up. Although the Cocoon star does not want to talk about it much, he refers to Hughes as a good guy who paid him well.
PRIVATE YET OPINIONATED
Wilford Brimley was a very private person, but he is very opinionated when it comes to politics, religion, and family. In 1998, he opposed Arizona’s referendum to ban cockfighting because he said he was trying to protect a lifestyle of freedom and choice for his grandchildren.
EVERYBODY SHOULD GET PAID FOR THE WORK
He is not someone who’ll ask his friends to do something for free! Diehl’s band had the opportunity to play for a fundraiser many years ago and as his friend, Wilford asked him how much he was getting paid. Diehl told him that they are doing it for free.
The older actor was said to not like the sound of it. ‘Once you do that for free then you’ll do it for free every time. Your talents are worth paying, even for a fundraiser,’” Diehl recalls what he said. “He believed everybody should get paid for the work that they do, whether it was as a cowboy or an actor or a musician.”
THE FINAL DAYS
On his few final days, the actor liked singing in Zoom conference calls that his son, Bill, sets up for him whenever he would come to visit. Bill has set up Zoom music nights during the pandemic in order to give his friends an outlet to perform and share music.
That was how Diehl got to know the actor, because of his son Bill. On the recent Wednesday night, he was prepared to sing Fraulein and everyone in that conference was said to have fixated their eyes on the actor, watching him sing the song which holds so much meaning for him.
HE BREATHED HIS LAST ON AUGUST FIRST
It was sad news for everyone who knew that the actor let out his final breath on the first day of August 2020. He died in his hometown, Utah, after having been sick with a kidney drawback for 2 months, his agent Lynda Bensky disclosed. It is a tough time for the family and friends of the famous icon.
JUST A GUY, JUST A FELLER
In a telephone interview with the Tribune Thursday in 2014, the actor said to them that he’s not a musician and not even an actor. He said he was just a guy, just a feller. Well, he is, The guy who was remembered far and wide for the many notable things he did.
For the people close to him, however, he will be remembered as the guy who was his own man. His manager, Bensky, said that he was the guy that she could trust, the fellow who has a tough exterior yet has a tender heart and someone who had a love for music.
It is true that whatever a person did in this life, it will be remembered by the ones that he would leave behind. It is his mark, his legacy, Wilford Brimley will not just be remembered as the iconic guy who was Quaker Oats’ face, or the guy who said DIE-A-BEETUS, he will be remembered as the guy who has made his way into the spotlight.
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