Legendary Actor Brian Dennehy Passes Away at 81


Brian Dennehy, the winner of two Tony awards in a career that spanned many hit films including “Tommy Boy,” “First Blood”, “Silverado” and “Cocoon,” and starring roles on television, died Wednesday night in New Haven, Conn. He was 81.

“It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes, not Covid-related. Larger than life, generous to a fault, a proud and devoted father and grandfather, he will be missed by his wife Jennifer, family and many friends,” his daughter, actress Elizabeth Dennehy posted on social media Thursday.

The imposingly tall, barrel-chested Dennehy made his TV and feature debut in 1977 — a year in which he made appearances in at least 10 series or made for tv movies, including “Kojak,” “MASH” and “”Lou Grant,” and the films “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” and “Semi-Tough.” From that point one he would maintain a hefty work load for years to come.

In 1982 his visibility increased significantly due to his amazing performance in the role of Teasle, the small-town police chief and lead adversary to Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo in “First Blood.”

He played significant roles in the 1983 thriller “Gorky Park” and in 1985’s “Cocoon,” as well as the western “Silverado.” He played a cop (which was often his biggest roles) in the thriller “FX” and in the 1991 sequel as well.

Many might think Dennehy’s most memorable film role came in the 1990 movie “Presumed Innocent,” where he starred with Harrison Ford.

In the early to mid-’90s Dennehy starred as a Chicago police detective in the “Jack Reed” series of TV movies, several of which he also wrote and directed himself.

Dennehy won his first Tony for his performance as Willy Loman in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” in 1999 and his second Tony for his turn as James Tyrone in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” in 2003.

Below is an interview with Brian Dennehy on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos.

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