Brian Dennehy dead: First Blood actor dies, aged 81
Hollywood actor Brian Dennehy has died at the age of 81, his daughter has said.
The star, known for roles in films including First Blood and Cocoon, died on Wednesday due to natural causes.
His daughter Elizabeth announced the news on Twitter.
“It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes, not Covid-related,” she wrote.
It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes, not Covid-related. Larger than life, generous to a fault, a proud and devoted father and grandfather, he will be missed by his wife Jennifer, family and many friends. pic.twitter.com/ILyrGpLnc3
— Elizabeth Dennehy (@dennehyeliza) April 16, 2020
“Larger than life, generous to a fault, a proud and devoted father and grandfather, he will be missed by his wife Jennifer, family and many friends.”
Born in Connecticut, Dennehy was best known as a dramatic actor, after his breakout role in the 1982 film First Blood as Sheriff Will Teasel, opposite Sylvester Stallone's John Rambo.
His other roles included playing an alien in 1985 classic Cocoon and a leading part, as Dennis Meechum, in 1987's Best Seller, alongside James Woods.
More recent film appearances included voicing Django in Disney's Ratatouille, father of the rat chef Remy. He also featured as the superior officer of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in the 2008 cop drama Righteous Kill and as the father of Russell Crowe in the 2010 suspense film The Next Three Days.
Dennehy's illustrious career also involved theatre work, with the star winning two Tony Awards, both times for Best Lead Actor in a Play. The first win was for Death of a Salesman in 1999, and the second was for Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night in 2003.
Several actors have since paid tribute on social media.
Mia Farrow, who starred alongside Dennehy in Broadway play Love Letters, said she was “just devastated” by his death.
Just devastated to learn that the magnificent Brian Dennehy has died. They is no one i enjoyed working with more. And there are few friends as valued in my life. I took this photo backstage when we were in Love Letters. He loved my pup Bowie. pic.twitter.com/s55Cc37lFy
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) April 16, 2020
James Woods, who starred alongside Dennehy in Split Image and Best Seller, said that despite his bulky frame, Dennehy was a “sweetheart”.
I’m just devastated to hear we lost my beloved friend and colleague, #BrianDennehy. We were partners on two of my favorite films, Split Image and Best Seller. I’ve never laughed so hard as we did every day on the set or off. For a big “tough guy,” he was a sweetheart. #RIPBrian pic.twitter.com/EjsxMvqlxw
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) April 16, 2020
Better Call Saul actor Michael McKean added Dennehy was "a powerhouse" performer.
RIP Brian Dennehy. Brilliant and versatile, a powerhouse actor and a very nice man as well.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) April 16, 2020
Dennehy is survived by his wife and five children.