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"Cocoon' principals are sadly mostly gone

Over the quarter century since Cocoon's debut, four principals became Academy Award winners, most are deceased or barely remembered, and three actors still find steady work.

Don Ameche — Won the best supporting actor Oscar for Cocoon. Died in 1993 of prostate cancer at age 85.

Wilford Brimley — Brimley, 74, pitches diabetes care services on TV, and co-starred with Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker in 2009's Did You Hear About the Morgans?

Hume Cronyn — Died of prostate cancer in 2003 at age 91.

Brian Dennehy — Still going strong at 71, with appearances on the sitcoms 30 Rock and Rules of Engagement, and film roles including Righteous Kill and Ratatouille. Dennehy is currently filming The Big Year, a comedy starring Owen Wilson and Jack Black.

Jack Gilford — Died in 1990 of stomach cancer at age 81.

Steve Guttenberg — Followed Cocoon with the hits Three Men and a Baby and Three Men and a Little Lady, co-starring Tom Selleck and Ted Danson. "The Gute" remains an icon of 1980's pop culture and a contributor to FunnyOrDie.com. A third Three Men... movie is in the works.

Ron Howard — Considered one of Hollywood most bankable filmmakers, Howard, 56, won Oscars for producing and directing 2001's A Beautiful Mind. His hits include Apollo 13, The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Howard recently signed to direct The Dark Tower, based on Stephen King's novel.

Tyrone Power, Jr. — Power, 51, never parlayed his father's matinee idol looks into a comparable career, with only a dozen film roles since 1989's Shag.

Maureen Stapleton — Died of pulmonary disease in 2006 at age 80.

Jessica Tandy — Won a best actress Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy. Died of ovarian cancer in 1994 at age 85.

Gwen Verdon — Died of heart failure in 2000 at age 75.

Herta Ware — Died in 2005 of complications from Parkinson's disease. Trekkers remember Ware as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard's mother on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Tahnee Welch — At age 48, Welch hasn't appeared on screen in more than a decade.

Lili Fini Zanuck — Five years after Cocoon, Zanuck won an Oscar for producing the best picture winner Driving Miss Daisy, and directed 1991's crime drama Rush. She's currently developing her second directing project, Assault on Tony's, based on John O'Brien's novel.

"Cocoon' principals are sadly mostly gone 06/18/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 18, 2010 6:56pm]

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