was born on September 27, 1934 in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in Santa Monica, Ca. where he worked as a rancher and became a rodeo rider. After gaining too much weight he gave up the rodeo circuit for a job as a blacksmith and racehorse trainer. Then he found a love of acting, and with encouragement from actors such as Robert Duvall
and fellow cowboy Ben Johnson
, he began appearing in Westerns as an extra in crowded scenes around 1964, where his skill with a horse gave him stuntman opportunities. With his rustic good looks it wasn't long before he was cast in small speaking parts, the first of which was the 1969 film True Grit. He then landed a recurring guest appearance on the TV show The Waltons in 1974, which he reprised for four years. His debut as a character actor came in 1979 with a memorable performance in The Electric Horseman, and in the same year he landed a small role in The China Syndrome, where his portrayal of a hapless nuke-plant employee astounded movie-goers of the time. Since then he has had strong supporting roles alongside several well known actors, such as Robert Redford
in Brubaker, Charles Bronson
in Borderline (both 1980), Kurt Russell
in The Thing (1982), Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies (1983), as well as the lead part in Cocoon (1985) and Cocoon: The Return (1988). He has also appeared in a long-running series of Quaker Oats commercials and starred in the popular family-oriented TV show Our House from 1986 to 1988 as the lovable Gus Witherspoon. He continues to add to his fine list of credits.
Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.
Wilford Brimley Facts
|The Natural: The Best There Ever Was|
|My Fellow Americans|
|In & Out|
|Absence Of Malice|
|Cocoon: The Return|