And now his watch is ended. Native Northern Ireland actor J.J. Murphy has passed away, only four days into filming the fifth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. According to the Belfast Telegraph, Ser Denys Mallister (as was his character on the series), collapsed and died on Friday. He was 86 years old.
The series’ executive producers, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff released a joint statement in regards to the passing: “We will not be recasting J.J. Murphy. He was a lovely man, and the best Denys Mallister we could have hoped for. And now his watch is ended.”
Murphy reportedly had more scenes to film in the coming week as his character Ser Denys Mallister, the oldest member of the Night’s Watch. The man commanded the Shadow Tower for thirty-three years and was uncle of Lord Jason Mallister, a renowned tourney knight and bannerman loyal to House Tully. It has been reported that Murphy had a lot of pride in being cast and acting in the series.
Outside of his forthcoming work on Thrones, Murphy also had a role as an elder townsmen in the upcoming feature film Dracula Untold starring Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gadon, and Samantha Barks in addition to fellow actors from the Realm Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister) and Art Parkinson (Rickon “Where’s Rickon?” Stark).
Murphy also acted in several notable films, including Angela’s Ashes and the 1984 Helen Mirren/Joe Lynch film, Cal. Additionally, he was a noted actor at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast alongside the likes of Liam Neeson and another Thrones co-star, Ciaran Hinds (Mance Rayder).