Who is Wilford Brimley Yellowstone Tribute Explained


Arden Lambert


December 14, 2022


December 14, 2022


December 14, 2022

Since he’s an inspiration for the whole Western or cowboy genre, Wilford Brimley was honored in an episode of Yellowstone. The popular series took a moment to celebrate Brimley’s legendary career during episode 9 of its 3rd season. They paid him tribute by having a title card saying the following words: “In loving memory of Wilford Brimley. A cowboy, an artist, and a damn good friend.”

Given that it’s one of the more prominent Western genre series franchises today, it only makes sense for Yellowstone to pay tribute to the iconic actor. That said, just who is Wilford Brimley, and what’s he got to do with the series?

A Brief Look at Brimley’s Life and Career 

Wilford Brimley was born and raised in Salt lake City, Utah. He dropped out of high school when he reached the age of 14 and started working as a cowboy in Arizona, Nevada, and Idaho. By 1953, Brimley enlisted with the Marines and managed to grab the rank of Sergeant. 

After his service in the Marines, Brimley took up varying jobs. He worked as a ranch hand, bodyguard, wrangler, and even a blacksmith for the businessman Howard Huges. During that time, he started shoeing horses meant for television and film. 

RELATED: Exploring the Interconnected Relationships of the Dutton Family in ‘Yellowstone’ and its Spin-Off ‘1883’

During the 1960s, Brimley’s acting career began. He took on roles as a stuntman or riding extra in plenty of Western films. Although these acting roles can be considered minor, most were on notable shows and movies such as True Grit (1969), The Thing (1982), Texas Ranger (1993-2001), and Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009). While it’s unfortunate, Wilford Brimley didn’t actually star in the Yellowstone series

Surprisingly, there is more to Brimley than just his acting and stunt career. The man was also an accomplished harmonica player and singer. He even released a jazz album titled “This Time the Dream’s on Me” in 2004.   

Brimley also starred in several commercials throughout his career. One of the more notable ones would be his ad for Quaker Oats, a globally famous oatmeal brand. He also worked with the Liberty medical and American Diabetes Association. Starring in their commercials aimed at educating people about diabetes. 

Sadly, Wilford Brimley passed away on August 1, 2020, in a St. George, Utah, hospital. He had been suffering from a kidney condition for two months before his death. Brimley was 85 years old when he took his final breath. 

While it’s true that he had no formal training in acting, Brimley still managed to leave his mark in the western or cowboy genre. He has also inspired many people in the industry throughout his acting career. Of course, this included the people behind the popular Yellowstone series, which deemed it necessary to pay Wilford Brimley a tribute in one of their episodes. 


Wilford Brimley, Yellowstone



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