LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Art LaFleur, a veteran character actor with notable roles in “The Sandlot” and “Field of Dreams,” has died at age 78 after a 10-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
His wife Shelley announced his death on Facebook: “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 wrote.
“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.”
Over a four-decade career, LaFleur appeared in dozens of films and television shows.
Among his most memorable roles was playing the spirit of Babe Ruth in the 1993 classic “The Sandlot.” The Yankee legend appears to Benny in a dream sequence, advising him to get his signed baseball back from the neighbor’s yard guarded by a dog known as “The Beast.”
LaFleur also played another baseball player, Chick Gandil, in “Field of Dreams” and was a Yankees coach in the 1992 film “Mr. Baseball.” And he was the Tooth Fairy in the second and third installments of the “Santa Clause” franchise.
LaFleur was also recognizable from famous Pepsi ads that aired during two Super Bowls 15 years apart: In 1995, he played a Pepsi truck driver who generously shared his soda with a Coke driver before the two end up in a fistfight, smashing through the diner window. He then appeared in a reprise to that ad in 2010 as the diner cook who takes the order of the two soda-company drivers who similarly end up in a fight after an initial gesture of goodwill.
LaFleur had guest roles on television shows such as “Key and Peele,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” and “M.A.S.H.” and in films such as “The Replacements,” and “The Man with One Red Shoe.”
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