Brian Dennehy dies

Award-winning star of stage and screen was 81

by Jennie Kermode

Brian Dennehy in To Catch A Killer (1992)
Brian Dennehy in To Catch A Killer (1992)

Brian Dennehy, known for his work in films as diverse as First Blood, Cocoon and The Belly Of An Architect, has died at the age of 81, it was announced today. The widely admired character actor, who won a television golden Globe for his leading role in Death Of A Salesman in 2000, is understood to have passed away from natural causes in Newhaven, Connecticut.

Born in nearby Bridgeport, Dennehy studied the dramatic arts at Yale and had roles in Kojak, Serpico and M*A*S*H before breaking through on the big screen. He would become known for his skill in fleshing out supporting roles, creating memorable characters without distracting attention from the leads, in films like Silverado, Presumed Innocent and Tommy Boy.

On the small screen, he contributed memorable work to Dallas and Dynasty. He was also notable for his stage work, winning two Tony awards and a place in the the American Theatre Hall of Fame. He was always most at home in the Midwest and returned time and again to Chicago theatres. on both stage and screen he played a wide variety of characters, from friendly bartenders to vicious serial killers, always prioritising interesting roles over fame or money.

His final films, Long Day Journey and Son Of The South, are expected to be released later this year.

"Larger than life, generous to a fault, a proud and devoted father and grandfather, he will be missed by his wife Jennifer [Arnott], family and many friends," tweeted Elizabeth Dennehy, one of his five children.

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