TOMMY BOY, DEATH OF A SALESMAN Star Brian Dennehy Dead at 81

Actor Brian Dennehy has died at the age of 81. He brought a number of roles to life across his prolific career, keeping up a steady supply of gigs since his first credit in 1977 on Kojak. Yeah, he’s been around. Skilled in tackling both comedic and dramatic roles, Dennehy is known for everything from Dynasty to Tommy Boy. He’s been in the spotlight, and steady and strong in supporting roles, too. Most recently, he portrayed a recurring character, Elizabeth Keen’s grandfather, on NBC’s The Blacklist.

TMZ reported the veteran actor’s passing. Dennehy died at his Connecticut home on Wednesday night of natural causes. His daughter Elizabeth confirmed the news on Thursday. We send them all our condolences.

Dennehy’s acting talents weren’t limited to the screen. He appeared in numerous plays on Broadway, Chicago’s theater scene, and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The American Theater Hall of Fame honored him with induction. He even won two Tony Awards. Both times he received the honors for Best Lead Actor in a play—the first for playing Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman in 1999 and the second for portraying Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey Into Night in 2003. He worked with director Robert Falls on both plays.

Brian Dennehy in Tommy Boy


In fact, Dennehy’s received accolades for his television work as well. He’s been nominated for six Primetime Emmy Awards. He won a Golden Globe Award in 2000 for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film. He received the award for his role as Willy Loman in a television adaptation of Death of a Salesman. Given the multiple nods for the role, it’s clearly one Dennehy was born to play.

Dennehy flipped between gravitas and levity with exceptional skill. We’ll miss seeing him grace our screens and stages.

Featured Image: Paramount

Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist and the author of Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy. Follow her on  Twitter and Instagram.

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