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.

“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.

James Woods, who starred alongside Dennehy in Split Image and Best Seller, said that despite his bulky frame, Dennehy was a “sweetheart”.

Better Call Saul actor Michael McKean added Dennehy was "a powerhouse" performer.

Dennehy is survived by his wife and five children.