Award-winning character actor Brian Dennehy has died at age 81.
Mr. Dennehy passed away from natural causes in New Haven, Connecticut, with family by his side yesterday, April 15, 2020. The death was first reported by local law enforcement then confirmed by ICM Partners, the agency that represented Mr. Dennehy.
Over his fifty-year career, Dennehy won multiple awards and accolades. He received two Tony Awards for his work on the stage, as well as a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award. He was also nominated for the primetime Emmy Award six times and was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.
Dennehy is best known for his work in Blockbuster films like Tommy Boy and First Blood, the genesis of the Rambo franchise. Dennehy played the father of Chris Farley’s Tommy in the former and the antagonistic Sheriff in the latter. The actor also loved performing on stage and was clearly skilled at the craft as his two Tony Awards can attest. The first coming in 1999 for his performance in Death of a Salesman and the second in 2003 for Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Over the course of his work on stage, Dennehy often performed in works by Anton Chekov or Samuel Beckett.
Dennehy was often cast as an authority figure of everyman, possibly owing to his gregarious nature and football lineman’s build. To these and other roles, Dennehy brought a reality and dignity to his depiction of working-class people. The reality was well earned after graduating from college, but prior to relocating to Los Angeles at age 38, Dennehy served in the Marines and worked many odd jobs, including driving a meat truck. Once in LA, Dennehy’s first film role was that of a football player in Semi-Tough.
Brian Dennehy is survived by his wife and five children.
Rest in peace.