Art LaFleur, The Sandlot and Field of Dreams actor, dies at 78
LaFleur's wife, Shelley, announced his death in a Facebook post, writing that he died following a decade-long battle with Parkinson's disease.
"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 continued. "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."
Born in Gary, Ind., in 1943, LaFleur did not begin his acting career until his 30s. His first screen role was in the 1978 TV movie Rescue From Gilligan's Island. He went on to appear in more than 160 films, TV shows, and TV movies over the next 40 years, spanning such TV classics as M*A*S*H and Hill Street Blues and movies including The Santa Clause 2 and 3 (in which he played the Tooth Fairy), 2008's Speed Racer, and more recent projects such as Key and Peele.
He was perhaps best known, however, for his role as baseball great Babe Ruth in the beloved 1993 coming-of-age film The Sandlot, and also played Chick Gandil, the Chicago White Sox player known for his involvement in the 1919 Black Sox scandal, in 1989's Field of Dreams.
LaFleur is survived by his wife and their two children, Molly and Joe, as well as his daughter-in-law Glenda.