‘Field of Dreams,’ ‘Sandlot,’ actor Art LaFleur dies at 78

Local News

Art LaFleur, seen here at a celebration of the 20th anniversary of “The Sandlot,” died Wednesday after a 10-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Twentieth Century Fox/AP Images)

(The Hill) – Art LaFleur, a prolific actor known for his role as Babe Ruth in the classic movie “The Sandlot” and as another baseball player in “Field of Dreams,” died Wednesday after a 10-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 78.

Shelly LaFleur, the actor’s wife, announced his death via a Facebook post published on Thursday, Nov. 18.

“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,” said Shelly LaFleur, who was with the late actor for 43 years. “Art was larger than life and meant the world to us.”

LaFleur appeared in dozens of movies throughout his career, including “The Blob” and “Cobra,” but he was best known for playing Ruth in “The Sandlot,” appearing as his ghost to give advice to fictional character Benny Rodriguez.

“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 says in one of the movie’s most iconic lines. 

The actor was born in 1943 in Gary, Ind. LaFleur moved to Los Angeles in 1975 to pursue a career as an actor, according to his biography page on film site IMDB. He got his first gig in 1977, and landed his first major movie role in 1980 in “The Hollywood Knights.”

Lafleur’s last major role was in 2006 as the Tooth Fairy in “Santa Clause 3.”

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