Art LaFleur ‘The Sandlot’ Star Dies of Parkinson’s at Age 78

Courtesy of Doc Searls (Flickr CC0)

The man who played Babe Ruth in the film “The Sandlot” has passed away at the age of 78. His death comes after battling Parkinson’s disease for a decade.

His wife of 43 years, Shelley LaFleur, wrote about his death on social media. “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. 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.”

Courtesy of J. Stephen Conn (Flickr CC0)

He was born on Sept. 9, 1943, in Gary, Indiana. After graduating high school he attended a junior college in Texas where he had won a football scholarship. Then he went to the University of Kentucky. In 1969, LaFleur moved to Chicago where he opened a saloon; four years later he opened a restaurant bar. Both of which were very successful.

Not feeling complete, he moved to California in 1975 to study acting. Acting coach Gordon Hunt —father to actress Helen Hunt — taught him for roughly a year. LaFleur enjoyed acting so much that he forgot about becoming a writer and focused on his newfound love.

His first stage job was in 1978 at Los Angeles’s Mark Taper Forum in Michael Cristofer’s “Black Angel” starring Richard Dysart, Tyne Daly, and Joseph Maher. LaFleur can be seen in many movie and TV roles. SUch as, “Cobra,” “Death Warrant,” “Mr. Baseball,” “Field of Dreams,” “Man of the House,” and “First Kid.”

He met his wife while acting in the television movie “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island.” They married on Sept. 4, 1981, and had two children.

LaFleur died in his Los Angeles home on Nov. 17, 2021. He is survived by his children, wife, family, and close friends. May he rest in peace.

Written by Sheena Robertson


IMDb: Art LaFleur

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New York Post: ‘The Sandlot’ actor Art LaFleur, 78, dies of Parkinson’s; by Conor Skelding

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