Actor Brian Dennehy, who appeared in nearly 200 movies and TV shows over the course of his long career and won two Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Play, died Wednesday, April 15 from natural causes unrelated to COVID-19, his daughter Elizabeth Dennehy confirmed. He was 81. Dennehy could be a leading man or a character actor depending on what the role called for, and in addition to his Tonys, he was nominated for six Emmys and won a Golden Globe.
Dennehy's most recognizable film and television roles include his breakout role as villainous Sheriff Will Teasle in First Blood, Big Tom Callahan in Tommy Boy, the voice of Django the rat in Ratatouille, and as Teamster boss Mickey J. in the 30 Rock episode "Sandwich Day."
In recent years, he recurred on The Blacklist as Dominic Wilkinson. Deadline reports that he'll get a sendoff on The Blacklist in the episode that will serve as the Season 7 finale. The NBC crime drama was filming the 19th episode of its planned 22-episode season when production was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Dennehy was already slated to be in the episode, which will use existing and previously filmed footage for Dom's farewell. The episode will close with a tribute card for Dennehy as well.
His greatest success came on the Broadway stage, winning Tonys for his performances in Death of a Salesman in 1999 and Long Day's Journey Into Night in 2003. He won a Golden Globe in 2001 for his performance as Willy Loman in a TV movie version of Death of a Salesman.
His acting career began relatively late in life, with his first film and TV credits coming in 1977. Before he became a professional actor, he was a stockbroker and a rugby player. He served in the Marine Corps and was stationed in Okinawa from 1958 to 1963; he later claimed to have served in combat in Vietnam, which wasn't true. He apologized for lying in 1998.
He is survived by his wife Jennifer and five children, including actress Elizabeth Dennehy.