Brian Dennehy Dies; Beloved TV and Movie Star Was 81

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Brian Dennehy, a veteran star of Broadway and Hollywood, died of natural causes on Wednesday night in Connecticut.

He was 81 years old.

Brian Dennehy

According to TMZ, no autopsy is scheduled to be run on Dennehy, whose career spanned five decades and included memorable roles on stage, on television and in the movies.

The actor's career began in the 1970s with a gamut of small guest roles on small screen programs such as Kojak, M*A*S*H, Lou Grant and Dallas.

He then nabbed a recurring role on Dynasty in 1981 and his career really took off.

The following year, Dennehy portrayed Sheriff Teasle in Sylvester Stallone's Rambo action film, First Blood.

Brian Dennehy Picture

Over the course of a lengthy and respected run, Dennehy won two Tony Awards and a Golden Globe Award.

Typically known as a serious actor, he also earned praise and fame for roles in 1980s and 1990s movies that range from Silverado to Cocoon to The Belly of an Architect to Best Seller to Presumed Innocent to Romeo + Juliet.

And yet...

... his most noteworthy movie appearance may have been as Big Tom Callahan in 1995’s comedy Tommy Boy, starring Chris Farley.

Dennehy

In more recent years, Dennehy voiced the character Django in Ratatouille and appeared on the hit NBC drama The Blacklist.

Dennehy -- who played offensive line in college at Columbia University -- was also beloved for his many roles on Broadway, earning Tony Awards in 1999 and 2003 for playing Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman and Tyrone in Long Day's Journey Into Night, respectively.

He also starred opposite Christopher Plummer in a 2007 Broadway revival of Inherit the Wind.

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Overall, Dennehy passed away with over 200 movies and television shows on his resume, along with five Emmy nominations.

Whenever possible, though, Dennehy retreated to the stage in Chicago, saying he preferred the Midwest "because I can sit down with rational people who make $50,000 a year and live in houses and have children and pay their taxes and shop at Sears."

He also said he chose to live on a farm in northeast Connecticut because the biggest celebrity in his town was the guy who portrayed Big Bird.

Pretty amazing, right?

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Survivors include his second wife, Jennifer, and his children Elizabeth, Kathleen, Dierdre, Cormac and Sarah.

We send our condolences to the friends, family members and loved ones of Brian Dennehy.

May he rest in peace.

UPDATE:

Dennehy's daughter has now Tweeted the following:

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.

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