Wilford Brimley in spy entertainment

Wilford Brimley as President Cleveland in The Wild Wild West Revisited.

Wilford Brimley died over the weekend at the age of 85. He’s being remembered for a number of roles in movies, TV and commercials. But his long career included some appearances in the spy genre.

Brimley (born Sept. 27, 1934) was less than a year older than actor Robert Conrad (born March 1, 1935). But in 1979, Conrad reprised his role as dashing U.S. Secret Service agent James West, with Brimley playing President Grover Cleveland in The Wild Wild West Revisited.

In the TV movie, Michelito Loveless Jr. (Paul Williams) has kidnapped Cleveland, Queen Victoria, the Czar of Russia and the King of Spain. The villain has replaced them with clones (referred to as “replicas”).

West and his partner Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin) finally meet up with the president. “Aren’t you the people who are supposed to be sure this doesn’t happen to the president of the United States?” Brimley’s Cleveland asks.

A bigger spy role for Brimley was in 1985’s Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.

The film was intended to launch a franchise. The producers enlisted two alumni of the James Bond film franchise, director Guy Hamilton and screenwriter Christopher Wood.

Brimley was the head of a secret United States organization which took on missions where the U.S. could disavow its operatives (sounds familiar). Brimley’s chief character was prepared to commit suicide if things came to that.

The agency abducts a New York City policeman (Fred Ward) and trains him to be an agent. Ward’s character is trained by Chiun (Joel Gray) and is assigned to take out an evil businessman who is also a U.S. military contractor.

UPDATE (Feb. 3, 2020): Here’s the trailer for Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.

 

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