Brian Dennehy is an American actor who was known for action movies, comedies, and classics. He is best known for his Tony-Award winning performances in “Death of a Salesman” in 1999 and “Long Day’s Journey Into Light” in 2003. The actor died on Wednesday in New Haven, Connecticut at the age of 81 of natural causes.
Brian Dennehy Biography
Brian Dennehy was born on July 9, 1938, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He was the son of Hannah (Manion) and Edward Dennehy a wire service editor for the Associated Press. Growing up he had two brothers, Michael and Edward. He was of Irish ancestry and was raised Catholic. The family later relocated to Long Island, New York, where Dennehy attended Chaminade High School in the town of Mineola. A football scholarship paved the way to Columbia University in New York City where he played football, earned a BA in history, became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and played rugby union for Old Blue RFC. He went on to graduate in dramatic arts at Yale University. Prior to pursuing acting Dennehy worked as a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch in their Manhattan office in the mid-1970s.
Dennehy who said he struggled academically left school to join the Marines, serving in the United States, South Korea, and Japan while he and his wife Judith Scheff, had two children. He completed his bachelors at Columbia in 1965 while working as a cab driver, trucker, butcher, bartender, and a motel clerk to support his family.
Brian Dennehy Age
Brian Dennehy was 81 by the time of his death.
Brian Dennehy Career
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Dennehy has gained popularity as an actor. His breakthrough role was as the overzealous sheriff Will Teasle in the Sylvester Stallone movie First Blood (1982) as Rambo. His most notable comedy films included Semi-Tough, Foul Play, and 10. He later portrayed a corrupt sheriff in the western Silverado and an alien in Cocoon, both released in 1985. The most recent films that he made an appearance is as Elizabeth Keen’s grandfather on the NBC series The Blacklist. Dennehy continued to work in the 21st century with the latest films including the animated Ratatouille (2007) in which he provided the voice of a rat and the police drama Righteous Kill (2008). He played lawyer Clarence Darrow in Alleged (2010), about the Scopes trial and the father of the dissipated
central character Christian Bale in Terrence Malick’s Hollywood parable Knight of Cups (2015). His movie credits from 2018 included the film adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull and the ensemble comedy Tag. Dennehy has also acted in a number of theatre productions which made him be inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2010.
Dennehy has won two Tony Awards both times for Best Lead Actor in a play. He is also the recipient of six Primetime Emmy Award nominations and a winner of one Golden Globe Award.
According to The New York Times, brawny and gregarious, Dennehy was often called on to play an Everyman or an authority figure: athletes, sheriffs, bartenders, salesman, and fathers. “He was a towering, fearless actor taking, on the greatest dramatic roles of the 20th Century,” said Roberts Falls the artistic director of the Goodman Theater in Chicago, where Dennehy did some of his finest works.
Brian Dennehy Marriage
Brian Dennehy married his wife Jennifer Arnott in 1988. They had two children together, Cormac 27 and Sarah 25. Dennehy also has three children from his marriage to Judith Scheff. They were married from 1959 to 1974. His first marriage ended in divorce in 1974. Little is known about his first marriage but he once told Columbia College Today that he regretted not being around enough to raise his oldest three children but was enjoying the chance to get to know his grandchildren. Two of his oldest children are now actresses and one is a doctor.
Brian Dennehy Death
The veteran actor died Wednesday night from natural causes that were not coronavirus-related, his daughter announced Thursday. In a statement on Twitter, his daughter said, “Larger than life, generous to fault a proud and devoted father and grandfather, he will be missed by his wife Jennifer, family and many friends.”
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. pic.twitter.com/ILyrGpLnc3
— Elizabeth Dennehy (@dennehyeliza) April 16, 2020
Dennehy received many tributes from different actors such as James Woods, who starred him in Bestseller (1987). In a twitter post, Woods mourned a “beloved friend and colleague.” He also added, “I’ve never laughed so hard as we did every day on the set or off.”
I’m just devastated to hear we lost my beloved friend and colleague, #BrianDennehy. We were partners on two of my favorite films, Split Image and Best Seller. I’ve never laughed so hard as we did every day on the set or off. For a big “tough guy,” he was a sweetheart. #RIPBrian pic.twitter.com/EjsxMvqlxw
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) April 16, 2020
Physically, Dennehy was an imposing man standing at 6ft 3in (1.9m). His agency ICM Partners and his representative Kate Cafaro also clarified the death of the actor was related to natural causes.
Actor Brian Dennehy died Wednesday night of natural causes in New Haven, Connecticut, according to Kate Cafaro of ICM Partners, the actor's representatives. He was 81. https://t.co/hcFZTVmunD
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) April 16, 2020