Art LaFleur, the actor best known for playing famous baseball roles like Babe Ruth in The Sandlot, died on Wednesday, Nov. 17, after a ten year battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 78 years old. TMZ reports that LaFleur was surrounded by his children and his wife, Shelley, when he passed.
LaFleur was receiving hospice care, but Shelley explained that he was joking with his loved ones until the end. Shelley explained that LaFleur was a "generous and selfless man" onscreen, "but more importantly it was who he was for his family and friends."
LaFleur was best known for playing Babe Ruth in the beloved baseball film The Sandlot. In the Iconic scene, LaFleur as Ruth tells Benny Rodriguez (Mike Vitar) that "heroes get remembered, but legends never die." LaFleur also starred alongside Kevin Costner as Chick Gandil in another classic baseball film, Field of Dreams. He also played the Yankees coach in Mr. Baseball.
LaFleur also appeared in films like The Blob, Cobra, Speed Racer, and The Santa Clause, as well as television shows like Man of the House and M*A*S*H*. In an Interview with Media Mikes in 2011, LaFleur opened up about getting recognized in public for his work. "It used to be Field of Dreams, then later Santa Clause but lately it's been The Sandlot. You know it's funny, every once in a while someone will come up and say, 'Hey, you're Art LaFleur!' They'll use my real name," LaFleur explained. "And I'm so shocked at that. I can understand somebody recognizing me from one of those films we've talked about but knowing my actual name? When they say, 'you're Art LaFleur, aren't you,' I'm always surprised. "
"I'm always recognized for The Sandlot," he continued. "In fact, just yesterday, I had somebody say, 'Hey, Babe Ruth! How ya' doing, Babe?' I was at Wrigley Field in Chicago with my family many years ago. It was like one of the hottest days ever in Chicago. The Cubs had won that day, thank God, and we were downstairs after the game in one of the men's room. Inside there is a big circular hand washing trough and people were putting their heads underneath the spray of water because it was so hot. So I put my head under and when I take it out I start drying my dripping face with paper towels. And I look into the doorway and catch three guys all looking at me. Finally, one of them says, 'Hey, you look just like that guy from Field of Dreams. And with a dripping head I look up at him and say, 'well, I was in that movie.' And the guy says, 'Nah! But you look just like him.'"