It is with great sadness that ComingSoon.net (via Variety) must report that much-loved character actor Brian Dennehy has passed away from natural causes at age 81. Dennehy’s daughter broke the news on Twitter earlier today…
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 was perhaps best known to movie lovers for his menacing performance as an authoritarian sheriff who butts heads with Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo in 1982’s First Blood. He also memorably played Chris Farley’s father in the 1995 comedy Tommy Boy, and voiced the role of the Patton Oswalt’s dad in Pixar’s 2007 hit Ratatouille.
Other notable roles include 1977’s Foul Play opposite Chevy Chase, Lawrence Kasdan’s Silverado (1985), Ron Howard’s Cocoon (1985), Ivan Reitman’s Legal Eagles (1986), Alan Pakula’s Presumed Innocent (1990), Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (1996), Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups (2015) and most recently in the 2018 comedy Tag. He also won a Golden Globe for his performance in the 2000 TV version of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, a role for which he also won a Tony for his stage performance in 1999.
The Hollywood community remembered Brian Dennehy today on Twitter…
#RIPBrianDennehy “Character actors! Who gives a fuck if we’re fat?” You were the best rat-dad a little chef could ask for. Miss you, man. pic.twitter.com/wTJpc3IHGB
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) April 16, 2020
Just devastated to learn that the magnificent Brian Dennehy has died. 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. pic.twitter.com/s55Cc37lFy
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) April 16, 2020
Sending sympathy to Elizabeth Dennehy and her family on the loss of her father, the great Brian Dennehy.
— Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) April 16, 2020
Condolences to the family of Brian Dennehy. A wonderfully talented actor.
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) April 16, 2020
I met Brian in a bar, acted in a movie with him but the stage was what he loved. In rehearsal he said, “This is it, kid.” He was a fellow nutmegger, mick and a Marine. They don’t make his kind anymore. to his family. https://t.co/0TLeo2MAyt
— Dana Delany (@DanaDelany) April 16, 2020
Was lucky enough to see Brian Dennehy twice on stage, masterful in Love Letters, and monumentally heartbreaking in Death Of A Salesman. A colossus. What a loss.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) April 16, 2020
RIP Brian Dennehy. Brilliant and versatile, a powerhouse actor and a very nice man as well.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) April 16, 2020
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
Not a movie made that wasn’t at least a little better solely for having Brian Dennehy in the cast.
— Ben Mankiewicz (@BenMank77) April 16, 2020
Another day. Another piece of devastating news. For those who never got to see Brian’s towering performance in “Death of A Salesman,” it will go down as one of the crowing performances ever delivered in a stage. #RIPbriandennehy https://t.co/23QgabbeZY
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) April 16, 2020
Very sad to hear about the passing of Brian Dennehy. He was a fantastic actor on the big and small screens, as well as theatre. Another great loss!!! RIP MM pic.twitter.com/tv8ZwdRbO9
— Malcolm McDowell (@McDowellMalc) April 16, 2020
The great Brian Dennehy has died. I loved co starring with him in Deadly Matrimony. One day he completely rewrote a scene and handed it to me. It was great. I said give me 30 minutes. We shot it. A great great actor has passed RIP https://t.co/HBatWSfNdO
— Treat Williams (@Rtreatwilliams) April 16, 2020
Brian Dennehy, Burly Actor in ‘First Blood,’ ‘Cocoon’ and ‘Death of a Salesman,’ Dies at 81 https://t.co/iqRXLPWfEO Gutted. RIP Bear
— TitusWelliver (@welliver_titus) April 16, 2020
RIP Brian Dennehy. You left a beautiful cinematic mark. #BePeace https://t.co/nhwqUIARke
— Carl Weathers (@TheCarlWeathers) April 16, 2020
Favorite Brian Dennehy movies
1. First Blood
2. Jericho Mile
3. Tommy Boy
6. Foul Play
Got to interview him in 2002 in Canada — he was a delight. A “podcast” way before I had a pod. RIP.https://t.co/eh99SUcBQC
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) April 16, 2020
We’ve lost one of our great actors. Rest #BrianDennehy
— John Lithgow (@JohnLithgow) April 16, 2020
There are SO many wonderful ways you can celebrate Brian Dennehy through cinema today. RIP to a legend.
NEVER CRY WOLF
GORKY PARK (@hulu)
SundanceTV’s “Hap and Leonard” (@netflix)
— Ted Geoghegan (@tedgeoghegan) April 16, 2020
“The important thing is you do what you want to do and you do it well, and you have a good time. Okay? One thing about my life is I’ve had a hell of a good time. And I’m glad I did.” -Actor and Academy member Brian Dennehy pic.twitter.com/U4lwjN34wI
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) April 16, 2020
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)