There are actors who become household names and movie stars, and then there are the actors who are just as recognizable, even though you may never know their names. Art LaFleur was one of those, a character actor who you almost certainly recognize from some show or movie you love, though you may not have known his name. Even if you’ve somehow never seen Field of Dreams, then you probably still recognize the actor from his countless TV and film roles over the years. Unfortunately, there will be no more, as Art Fleur has passed away at the age of 78.
Art LaFleur’s last screen performance was in the 2017 TV movie, Dive, but the actor had spent the last decade in a battle with atypical Parkinson’s disease. The disorder impacts the body in many of the same ways as standard Parkinson’s disease, but according to the Los Angeles Times, it does not respond well to the same treatments.
While Art LaFleur built up over 175 screen credits in his career, he might be most well known for playing baseball players. He played Chick Gandil in the Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams and he played The Babe himself in The Sandlot. In between, he appeared in a largely forgotten movie starring Tom Selleck called Mr. Baseball. We can call this LeFleur’s baseball trilogy.
But he certainly did a lot more than make movies about baseball. Art LaFleur appeared in television shows from The A-Team to Webster to The Bernie Mac Show. He had roles in WarGames in the ‘80s and appeared in the Wachowski’s Speed Racer in the 2000s. He also appeared in all three of the Santa Clause movies as the Tooth Fairy. Star Tim Allen posted on Twitter in remembrance of LaFleur when he learned of the passing.
The Molinator Art LaFleur passed last Wednesday. This man a kind and gifted actor, husband and father Peace to you our beloved tooth fairy. And prayers to your family.Santa pic.twitter.com/5j0DDKvEgzNovember 21, 2021
If you go through Art LaFleur’s filmography you’ll likely come across a dozen or more times that you saw him, roles in movies or guest appearances in your favorite TV shows, that you had forgotten about. But once you think about it you realize that this guy was everywhere and in everything. He was never the star, but he was always there, He certainly had talent to be cast so often.
While the friends and family of Art LaFleur are certainly mourning, perhaps, with his passing, comes this opportunity for more TV and movie fans to know his name. For so many he was probably just “that guy” who they had seen enough to recognize him, even if most probably couldn’t remember where they had actually seen him before.
Whether you remember him from Field of Dreams, The Sandlot or The Santa Clause, Art LaFleur is an actor that is difficult to forget once you see him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.