Following tonight’s new episode of Yellowstone, the show offered up a title-card tribute to the late, great Wilford Brimley. Who is he? For those who are unfamiliar with him, or why Yellowstone in particular would choose to honor him, we’re here to shed some light.
Brimley passed away on August 1 at the age of 85, but for many years made a living as one of the best character actors in the business. His iconic roles included The Natural and Cocoon, but he made quite a name for himself in cowboy culture. With his signature mustache and deep voice, he was the perfect character for Western movies. Working on them in bit parts was how he first got his start as a performer. Yellowstone refers to him as a cowboy and an artist in their title card, in addition to him being a “good friend.”
While Brimley never appeared on the Paramount Network series, he seems to hold a special connection to it. A part of it may be due to his status as a contemporary to star Kevin Costner, or the beloved following he has among Western movie fans. He also holds geographic ties to the series — the first three seasons filmed extensively in Utah, where Brimley lived and considered himself a proud native son.
Given how much Yellowstone season 3 episode 9 celebrated the cowboy lifestyle, this felt like the perfect time for the series to pay tribute to Brimley. There is no greater way for a show to honor someone than a title card, and he will live on in this form in all subsequent airings. Fans of his work can feel heartened that Yellowstone would choose to honor him, and this may inspire viewers unaware of his work to do a little more research and understand his contributions. Clearly, there are people both in the cast and crew who were inspired by Wilford, whether it be professionally or personally.
Brimley will be remembered fondly by all who knew him and loved his work. Our thoughts continue to go out to his friends, family, and all who knew him. (Photo: Paramount Network.)