Brian Dennehy, veteran actor of stage and screen, dead at 81

Brian Dennehy, a versatile character actor whose career spanned five decades, has died at the age of 81, his talent agency confirmed.Dennehy, a two-ti...

Posted: Apr 16, 2020 4:24 PM
Updated: Apr 17, 2020 5:45 AM

Brian Dennehy, a versatile character actor whose career spanned five decades, has died at the age of 81, his talent agency confirmed.

Dennehy, a two-time Tony Award winner who co-starred in a wide range of films, often in tough-guy roles, died of natural causes in Connecticut on Wednesday night, ICM Partners announced in a statement.

In a tweet, his daughter described him as 'larger than life' and 'generous to a fault.'

Dennehy co-starred in a long list of popular movies, including 'First Blood' (as the local sheriff who clashes with Sylvester Stallone's Rambo), the western 'Silverado,' and the science-fiction classic 'Cocoon.' He played Chris Farley's dad in the comedy 'Tommy Boy,' and portrayed basketball coach Bobby Knight in a made-for-TV movie.

A former college football player at Columbia University, Dennehy appeared in a number of TV shows before making his movie debut in the Burt Reynolds movie 'Semi-Tough' as a football player. He quickly went on to roles in the movies '10,' 'F.I.S.T.' He also had a regular part in the series 'Dynasty.'

'Just devastated to learn that the magnificent Brian Dennehy has died,' actress Mia Farrow wrote on Twitter. 'They is no one I enjoyed working with more. And there are few friends as valued in my life. I took this photo backstage when we were in 'Love Letters.' He loved my pup Bowie.'

Dennehy won a Tony for his role in 'Death of a Salesman,' later playing the part in a TV production of the play. He received another for 'Long Day's Journey Into Night.'

Dennehy had continued to work recently in such series as 'Hap and Leonard' and NBC's 'The Blacklist.'

Fellow actors mourned Dennehy on Thursday.

Michael McKean called Dennehy a 'brilliant and versatile' and 'a powerhouse actor.'

Marlee Matlin said 'his passing is a terrible loss.'

Dennehy had a slightly more humble reflection on his body of work in an interview with the Daily Actor in 2018.

'I'm now 80 and I'm just another actor and that's fine with me. I've had a hell of a ride,' he said. 'I have a nice house. I haven't got a palace, a mansion, but a pretty nice, comfortable home. I've raised a bunch of kids and sent them all to school, and they're all doing well. All the people that are close to me are reasonably healthy and happy. Listen, that's as much as anybody can hope for in life.'

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 613266

Reported Deaths: 34388
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens871957347
Kings860527493
Bronx619645030
Nassau579852244
Suffolk579092039
Westchester479641506
New York432833222
Erie22558764
Richmond216971121
Rockland20942692
Orange16228517
Monroe13417313
Onondaga9785222
Dutchess6867185
Albany5324148
Broome5054136
Oneida4410146
Niagara3366104
Ulster314198
Chemung276933
Putnam256364
Schenectady222755
Sullivan212348
Saratoga204519
Steuben164487
Rensselaer158750
Chautauqua144916
Oswego13596
Ontario116437
Tioga106648
Wayne101212
Columbia97956
Tompkins9710
Cattaraugus95624
Cortland9512
Allegany90752
Madison86118
Genesee8458
Cayuga7837
St. Lawrence7239
Greene65518
Livingston6428
Herkimer61612
Chenango60210
Orleans58556
Otsego5738
Warren56035
Wyoming4805
Fulton47228
Jefferson4713
Montgomery44215
Washington43514
Clinton4345
Delaware3269
Lewis3269
Schuyler2853
Seneca2675
Essex26314
Franklin2456
Yates2427
Schoharie1792
Hamilton411
Out of NY0120
Unassigned017
Utica
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 52°
Oneonta
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 55°
Herkimer
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 52°
Thendara
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 52°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
Stuff the Bus Locations
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve