American character actor and acting coach Art LaFleur, best known for portraying legendary baseball player Babe Ruth in the 1993 coming-of-age sports comedy film The Sandlot, has passed away after a battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 78. The news of LaFleur's death was confirmed by his wife Shelley on Facebook, who wrote, "This guy… After a 10 year battle with A-typical Parkinson’s, Art LaFleur, the love of my life passed away." LaFleur, who is known for his tough guy image, also starred in The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, in which he played the Tooth Fairy, including as Chuck Gandil, the ghost White Sox first baseman in Field of Dreams.

Shelley LaFleur continued, "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. Every location or set we visited him on, the cast and crew would introduce themselves and tell Molly, Joe, and me how Art spoke of us with such pride and love. 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." Below is Shelley's emotional statement: 

Born in Gary, Indiana, Art LaFleur was a salesman first before he made the move to Los Angeles in the hopes of pursuing acting. His acting credits include more than a hundred roles in popular TV shows like Benson, Charlie’s Angels, Lou Grant, Hill St. Blues, Soap and The A-Team to name a notable few. LaFleur continued to make TV appearances throughout the 1990s on shows like E.R., Doogie Howser, M.D., Matlock, including a recurring role on Hyperion Bay. He also landed roles like Sgt. Rutledge in Beethoven’s 4th and the coach in A Cinderella Story, while his final on-screen appearance was on the sketch comedy television series Key and Peele in 2015.