Art LaFleur, a longtime character actor who was best known as The Ghost of Babe Ruth in The Sandlot, has passed away this past Wednesday at the age of 78 after a 10 year battle with A-typical Parkinson’s disease. According to TMZ, his wife Shelley said he was surrounded by his children at the time of his passing; even going as far as trying to liven the mood by telling them jokes in an effort to keep their spirits high.
Art LaFleur’s Life
Born on September 9, 1943, in Gary, Indiana; the midwestern boy attended the University of Kentucky and played football as a redshirt freshman in 1962. His acting career wouldn’t start until he moved to Chicago at the age of 31. His very first credited role came in 1978s made for the television comedic movie Rescue from Gilligan’s Island. From there he would garner roles in television projects like M*A*S*H (1980), and films like I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982), War Games (1983), a remake of 1956s The Blob, and eventually winding up in the 1989 tearjerker Field of Dreams where he played Chick Gandil, alongside Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones.
Then in 1993, he got the opportunity most actors rarely get; to play The Ghost of Babe Ruth in the timeless classing, The Sandlot. His acting consistency would power him through the 90s with roles in other notables as: In the Army Now (1994), Man of the House (1995), The Replacements (2000), Malcolm in the Middle (2005), The Wachowskis’s Speed Racer (2008), and most recently he appeared in an episode of Key in Peele in 2015. The Sandlot actor’s very last credit comes from the television movie, Dive in 2017.
Shelley posted a message to social media in remembrance of her late husband, Art LeFleur:
This guy…After a 10 year battle with A-typical Parkinson’s, Art LaFleur, the love of my life passed away. He brought laughter to so many people as Babe Ruth in the Sandlot, The Tooth Fairy in The Santa Clause 2 and 3, and Chick Gandil in Field of Dreams to name just a few. 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…”
Our condolences go to LaFleur’s family.