Sad news has come in as one of the stars of Seabiscuit has died. Popcorn Deelites, a 24-year-old horse who appeared in several key scenes in 2003’s Seabiscuit, reportedly died from complications of colic, which refers to abdominal pain in horses. The animal actor’s death was confirmed by Old Friends Farm in Georgetown, Kentucky, where the horse had been residing since 2005.
“We are deeply saddened to report that Seabiscuit movie star POPCORN DEELITES (24) died this morning,” the Old Friends Farm tweet reads. “A 17-year OF resident, his paddock-mate for all of those years, Special Ring, is devastated, as are we. Pops will always be a shining star in our hearts.”
“Pop’s Hollywood history made him an enormous fan favorite, of course,” said Michael Blowen, the non-profit’s founder and president. “But what really won people over was his warm personality and friendly demeanor. Fans adored him and he adored the fans.”
Per People, Blowen added: “[Popcorn Deelites] will be sorely missed here on the farm, but I’m sure that his old pal and paddock mate, Special Ring, will miss him the most.”
Seabiscuit Was a Hit Film Nominated for a Best Picture Oscar
Written and directed by Gary Ross, Seabiscuit was based on the 1999 book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. The story is inspired by the career of a Thoroughbred race horse named Seabiscuit whose successes made him extremely popular in the United States during the Great Depression. The 2003 film also features a strong cast which includes Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, and William H. Macy.
Garnering pretty strong reviews, Seabiscuit was a pretty big hit that was also a success at the box office. It was up for several awards at the 76th Academy Awards, which includes noms for Best Picture, Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay), and Best Cinematography. Legendary critic Roger Ebert loved the film and gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars, referring to the horse races as “thrilling” in his review.
“Well, first of all, I loved the script,” Tobey Maguire said of why he joined the project, per IGN. “I thought Gary Ross did a fantastic job adapting it. I read the book prior to reading the script and I loved the story…. And Gary, I thought, using the kind of documentary historical device of showing the photos and having [David] McCullough (National Historian and narrator on Seabiscuit) do some narration, I thought was a brilliant way to establish the time period…. And how that ties into the characters’ own personal situations in their lives was so tremendous.”
Rest in peace, Popcorn Deelites. If you want to revisit Seabiscuit and catch Popcorn Deelites as the titular horse in the film, you can find the movie streaming on Peacock.