Art LaFleur is best known for his acting roles in the 1993 American coming-of-age movie “The Sandlot” and “Field of Dreams,” the 1989 fantasy/drama film.
The actor recently died at the age of 78. Although more details on the exact cause of death were not revealed, the actor passed away after a decade-long struggle with Parkinson’s disease, as revealed by his wife on social media.
The character actor was known mainly by viewers for his on-screen portrayal of haunting versions of historically documented baseball players in the “Field of Dreams” and “The Sandlot” movies. He also made appearances in various television series during his acting career. Here’s all to know about LaFleur’s career and the circumstances surrounding his death.
Art LaFleur In ‘Field Of Dreams’
LaFleur’s fondness for portraying historical baseball figures was truly impressive. The actor played the fictional character Chick Gandil in “Field of Dreams.” He starred alongside Kevin Costner in the movie, a romantic version of Shoeless Joe, the novel by W.P Kinsella.
LaFleur played Gandil, one of the prominent features in the 1919 World Series fix. Critics commented on his excellent portrayal of the sensitive baseball player and praised his acting skills.
Subsequently, he had other on-screen appearances, including “The Sandlot,” the cult classic of 1993. In this project, he depicted the apparition of Babe Ruth. Though the movies shared some similarities, LaFleur gave in-depth delivery of the individual characters.
Fans also applauded a remarkable line from the film: his speech to Benny (Mike Vitar), a young wannabe player. “Remember, kid. There’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. Follow your heart, kid, and you’ll never go wrong.”
LaFleur’s Wife Paid Him A Tribute
CNN reported that LaFleur died on November 17, 2021, and that the cause of death was Parkinson’s disease. Concerning the passing, Shelley LaFleur, his wife, opened up in a statement.
She revealed that her husband battled with an atypical form of the disease for ten years and that, sadly, the “love of her life” gave up the struggle. She also commended his performances in his key movie appearances and noted how proud she was of him both as an actor and person.
“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.” She said, “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.”
She added that their marriage lasted 43 whole years, revealing their eternal love for each other even after such a long time. She said, “I was so very lucky to have had a 43-year relationship with a man who cherished me and who I adored.”
How Fans Reacted To LaFleur’s Death
LaFleur‘s wife posted the news of his passing on her Facebook page, and following this, many fans immediately expressed their condolences and wished her strength to pull through.
They also talked about their favorite LaFleur moments on screen, reminiscing about his acting style while alive. “I remember LaFleur from one of my favorite movies called “First Kid,” a user mentioned.
“Always giving Sinbad’s character a hard time. He was also in the movie Man of the House with Chevy Chase, RIP Art,” he continued.
Another fan quoted the famous line from “The Sandlot,” “Heroes get to remember but legends never die.” Another fan also commented on how excited they were when LaFleur was on-screen.
Art LaFleur’s Role In Other TV Shows
Not only did he portray athletes on television, but LaFleur was also one in real life and played football in the Kentucky University where he schooled. However, he evidently preferred acting, which he eventually chose over being an athlete. He made a mark in television through his several appearances on TV series all through his acting career.
IMDb noted a handful of films he was featured in, and they included “Boy Meets World,” Angels, “Key and Peele,” “M*A*S*H,” “Matlock, Home Improvement,” JAG, “Malcolm in the Middle,” and “The Playboy Club.”
The “Field of Dreams” actor will be forever known by fans as a classic American baseball figure for his outstanding performances.