Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Late Great Brian Dennehy

Brian Dennehy, who appeared in such films as Silverado (1985), Cocoon (1985), and Romeo + Juliet (1995) died April 15 2020 at the age of 81.

Brian Dennehy was born on July 9 1938 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. His father, Edward Dennehy, was a a wire service editor at Associated Press. The family moved to Long Island, New York, where Brian Dennehy attended Chaminade High School. He began acting while still in high school, appearing in a school production of Macbeth. He attended Columbia University for a time on a football scholarship before serving five years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Following his service he resumed his education at Columbia University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965.

Mr. Dennehy began acting in regional theatre, taking a succession of jobs to make a living. He worked as a butcher, a truck driver, and a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch, a job he did not particularly like. He made his film debut in Looking for Mr. Goodbar in 1977 and his television debut in an episode of Kojak the same year. In the late Seventies he appeared in the movies Semi-Tough (1977), F.I.S.T. (1978), Foul Play (1978), Butch and Sundance: The Early Days (1979), 10 (1979) and Little Miss Marker (1980). He guest starred on episodes of Serpico; Lanigan's Rabbi; M*A*S*H; Lucan, The Fitzpatricks; Lou Grant, The Tony Randall Show; Dallas; Big Shamus, Little Shamus; and Knot's Landing. He appeared in the mini-series Pearl and A Rumour of War.

In the Eighties Mr. Dennehy appeared in the movies Split Image (1982), First Blood (1982), Never Cry Wolf (1983), Gorky Park (1983), Finders Keepers (1984), The River Rat (1984), Cocoon (1985), Silverado (2985), Twice in a Lifetime (1985), F/X (1986), The Check Is in the Mail... (1986), Legal Eagles (1986), The Belly of an Architect (1987), Best Seller (1987), The Man from Snowy River II (1988), Miles from Home (1988), Indio (1989), Georg Elser - Einer aus Deutschland (1989), The Last of the Finest (1990), and Presumed Innocent (1990). On television he had a recurring role on Dynasty in the show's first and second seasons and the lead role on the sitcom Star of the Family. He guest starred on the shows BBC2 Playhouse, Cagney & Lacey, Hunter, Tall Tales & Legends, Faerie Tale Theatre, and Miami Vice. He appeared in the mini-series Evergreen. 

In the Nineties Brian Dennehy appeared on Broadway in the productions Translations and Death of a Salesman. He won the Tony Award for Best Actor for the latter. He appeared in the movies F/X2 (1991), Gladiator (1992), Tommy Boy (1995), The Stars Fell on Henrietta (1995), Romeo + Juliet (1996), Out of the Cold (1999), and Silicon Towers (1999). On television he had a lead role on the TV series Birdland. He appeared in the mini-series To Catch a Killer, A Season in Purgatory, Dead Man's Walk, and Nostromo.

In the Naughts Brian Dennehy had the lead role in the television series The Fighting Fitzgeralds and a recurring role on the sitcom Just Shoot Me. He guest starred on the shows The Agency, The West Wing, The 4400, 30 Rock, Rules of Engagement, and Rizzoli & Isles. He appeared in the movies Summer Catch (2001), Stolen Summer (2002), She Hate Me (2004), Assault on Precinct 13 (2005), 10th & Wolf (2006), The Ultimate Gift (2006), Welcome to Paradise (2007), War Eagle, Arkansas (2007), Cat City (2008), Righteous Kill (2008), Every Day (2010), Meet Monica Velour (2010), The Next Three Days (2010), and Alleged (2010).  He was the voice of Django in Ratatouille (2007).  He appeared on Broadway in Long Day's Journey into Night, Inherit the Wind, and  Desire Under the Elms.

In the Teens he had regular roles on the TV shows Public Morals and recurring roles on Hap and Leonard and The Blacklist. He guest starred on the TV shows The Good Wife and The Big C. He appeared in the movies The Big Year (2011), Twelfth Night (2012), Knights of Cups (2015), The Seagull (2018), The Song of Sway Lake (2018), and Driveways (2019).  He appeared on Broadway in Love Letters.

Brian Dennehy was truly a modern day character actor. Throughout his career he portrayed a wide variety of characters including heroes, villains, and everything in between. He was a villain in First Blood, playing the corrupt Sheriff Will Teasle. In Silverado he played Cobb, another corrupt sheriff. In F/X Mr. Dennehy played a more heroic role, that of police detective Lt. McCarthy, who finds more than he bargained for when he investigates a murder. Through the years Brian Dennehy played such a wide range of roles that it is difficult to say he was identified with any particular role. In Belly of an Architect he played Stourley Kracklite, whose life and health both begin to deteriorate. In the Miami Vice episode "Amen...Send Money" he played a televangelist. He played diverse historical figures, including John Wayne Gacy, Clarence Darrow, and the voice of Babe Ruth in the animated feature Everybody's Hero (2006). Brian Dennehy was an extremely talented actor capable of playing a wide array of roles and always gave a good performance.

1 comment:

Diary of a Movie Maniac said...

Titanic talent! :(