Wilford Brimley - Actor (Cocoon, The China Syndrome)
Claim to Fame: Actor (Cocoon, The China Syndrome)
DOB: September 27, 1934
Diabetes Type: 2
A rough and tumble Westerner, Salt Lake City native Wilford Brimley has done it all. Leaving high school to serve in the Korean War, Brimley returned home and worked as a ranch hand, a wrangler and a blacksmith to support his family. Moving to Los Angeles, he got work as a bodyguard for Howard Hughes, and shoeing horses for Western films. Acting as an extra in a few such films himself, Brimley was encouraged by friend and colleague Robert Duvall to pursue acting. With a recurring role on the 70’s TV hit “The Waltons”, his career soon began to truly take flight with his supporting role in the 1979 film, “The China Syndrome”.
Throughout the 1980’s, Brimley would go on play a variety of different roles, acting alongside Robert Redford in “The Natural” (1984) and perhaps most notably as an adventurous senior citizen in the 1985 film “Cocoon”. Using his country, down-home image, he was for many years the spokesman for Quaker Oats. In addition, Wilford Brimley has played in the World Series of Poker, and has championed a variety of political causes, all the while vocal about life with diabetes.
In 2008, the actor and diabetes spokesman was honored for his dedication to diabetes awareness by the American Diabetes Association. The first-time award came as a surprise to Brimley who admitted to being scared and angry when he was first diagnosed, but now doctors have pronounced him still quite healthy all while using insulin to manage his type 2 diabetes.
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