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Longtime Theatre, Film and TV Actor Brian Dennehy Passes On

Longtime Theatre, Film and TV Actor Brian Dennehy Passes On

Brian Dennehy won 2 Tony Awards for Best Actor. His first for “Death of a Salesman, before he recreated the role for television. Dennehy also won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film as Willy Lohman. His second Tony for the 2003 the Broadway revival of Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Both productions were directed by Robert Falls and were originally produced at the Goodman Theatre company in Chicago.His career spanned 5 decades. On Wednesday night Dennehy passed away in Connecticut of natural causes.

On stage, Dennehy has made frequent performances in the Chicago theater world, and made his Broadway debut in 1995 in Brian Friel’s Translations. In 1999, he was the first male performer to be voted the Sarah Siddons Award for his work in Chicago theater. He made a return to Broadway in 2007 as Matthew Harrison Brady in Inherit the Wind opposite Christopher Plummer, then returned again opposite Carla Gugino in a 2009 revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms.

Brian Dennehy, Nathan Lane in The Iceman Cometh

In fall 1992, he played the lead role of Hickey in Robert Falls’s production of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.

In 2008, Dennehy appeared at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, appearing in All’s Well That Ends Well as the King of France, and a double bill of plays, Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape and Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie, where Dennehy reprised the role of Erie Smith.

In 2010, he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

In December 2010, he returned to Ireland to play Bull McCabe in the Olympia Theatre of Dublin’s stage version of John B. Keane’s The Field.

In 2011, Dennehy returned to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in the role of Sir Toby Belch in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. He also played Max in Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming, which is the first Pinter work to be produced there.

Brian Dennehy in Twelfh Night Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

In April through June 2012, he played the role of Larry Slade in the Eugene O’Neill play The Iceman Cometh at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, which he reprised in 2015 when the production, with most of the Goodman Theater production cast, was revived at the BAM Harvey Theater in Brooklyn, New York.

Brian Dennehy in Cocoon

Dennehy was also a recipient of six Primetime Emmy Award nominations, he gained initial recognition for his role as Sheriff Will Teasle in First Blood. He has had roles in numerous films include Gorky ParkSilveradoCocoonF/XPresumed InnocentRomeo + Juliet and Knight of Cups.

Brian Dennehy in Dynasty

The actor’s career began in the ’70s with a run of small guest roles on TV shows like “Kojak,” “M*A*S*H,” “Lou Grant” and “Dallas” before landing a recurring role on “Dynasty” in 1981.

Brian Dennehy, Chris Farley in Tommy Boy

In 1995, he played Big Tom Callahan in the classic Chris Farley film “Tommy Boy.”

Brian Dennehy in The Blacklist

In more recent years, he voiced the character Django in “Ratatouille” and appeared on the hit show, “The Blacklist.” All in all, he has nearly 200 film and television credits to his name.

Brian’s survived by his wife and 5 children. He was 81.


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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