Art LaFleur, best known for starring in the movies Field Of Dreams and The Sandlot, has died aged 78.
His death was confirmed on Thursday (November 18) by his wife Shelley LaFleur, who said the actor died after a 10-year battle with “A-typical Parkinson’s.”
“This guy… After a 10 year battle with A-typical Parkinson’s, Art LaFleur, the love of my life passed away,” Shelley wrote on Facebook. “He brought laughter to so many people as Babe Ruth in the Sandlot, The Tooth Fairy in The Santa Clause 2 and 3, and Chick Gandil in Field of Dreams to name just a few.
“He was a generous and selfless man which carried over to his acting but more importantly it was who he was for his family and friends. Every location or set we visited him on, the cast and crew would introduce themselves and tell Molly, Joe, and me how Art spoke of us with such pride and love. He was never happier than the day this picture was taken, when Glenda LaFleur, who he was overjoyed to have as a daughter, joined our family.”
She concluded: “I was so very lucky to have had a 43 year relationship with a man who cherished me and who I adored. Art was larger than life and meant the world to us.”
This guy… After a 10 year battle with A-typical Parkinson’s, Art LaFleur, the love of my life passed away. He brought…
LaFleur was born in 1943 in Gary, Indiana. Before becoming an actor, he played American football at the University of Kentucky in the early 1960s.
He got his start in the film and television industry as an actor, after initially moving to Hollywood to become a screenwriter. His first role came in the 1978 TV movie Rescue From Gilligan’s Island, followed by an episode of Charlie’s Angels.
LaFleur had a long list of television credits, with appearances on The A-Team, Baywatch, Coach, M*A*S*H, The Incredible Hulk, Doogie Howser, ER, Hill Street Blues, Home Improvement, House, JAG, Northern Exposure and Thirtysomething.
Later television roles included Cold Case, The Mentalist, Malcolm In The Middle, The Bernie Mac Show and Key And Peele.
He was best known for playing the spirit of baseball legend Babe Ruth in the family comedy film The Sandlot, in which he delivered probably his most iconic line: “Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s Legends. Heroes get remembered, but Legends never die.”
Ever the sports fan, LaFleur appeared in another baseball-themed movie, the Kevin Costner–starring drama Field Of Dreams, as Chick Gandil, one of the leaders of the 1919 Black Sox scandal. He also starred in the Gene Hackman and Keanu Reeves American Football comedy The Replacements.
Elsewhere on the big screen, he appeared in the cult-classic horror remake of The Blob from 1988, the Sylvester Stallone police thriller Cobra from 1986, and he starred as the Tooth Fairy in The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.
On the big screen, LaFleur’s career included performances in Rampage, The Wrong Guys, Keaton’s Cop, and The Death Warrant.
In 2011, LaFleur was recognised by the Action on Film International Film Festival for his role among the ensemble cast of Dahmer vs. Gacy, a film from director Ford Austin.