The 81-year-old veteran actor Brian Dennehy died on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, from natural causes his daughter announced. Her father’s death was not coronavirus-related, she said on Thursday.
“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,” Elizabeth Dennehy posted in a statement on Twitter.
The barrel-chested, prolific actor had many movie roles, including in “Tommy Boy,” “First Blood,” and “Cocoon.” Still, he won acclaim on stage, particularly for “Death of a Salesman” on Broadway in 1999.
He won another best actor Tony in 2003 for “Long Day’s Journey into Night.”
In addition to those two Tony Awards, Dennehy took life’s final bow with one Golden Globe win, a SAG Award and five Emmy nominations.
Broadway giant Lin-Manuel Miranda said he’ll always remember Dennehy’s “heartbreaking” portrayal of Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman.”
“Was lucky enough to see Brian Dennehy twice on stage, masterful in Love Letters, and monumentally heartbreaking in Death Of A Salesman. A titan. What a loss,” the “Hamilton” writer and actor tweeted.
Dennehy, who stood 6-foot-3, often played figures of authority with a stubborn streak.
He skillfully played small-town sheriff Will Teasle in “Rambo,” showing no sensitivity to a troubled veteran played by Sylvester Stallone. The larger-than-life actor also captured the intense, single-mindedness of Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight in the movie adaptation of “A Season on the Brink.”
Tributes to him included a post from screenwriter and TV producer Dan Fogelman, who wrote: “A writing question I commonly get is ‘do you picture an actor as you are writing a character?’ Even though I never worked with him, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve imagined Brian Dennehy in my mind’s eye as I write something. A true powerhouse actor.”
Despite Dennehy’s severe stage bona fides, he may be best known to much of the movie-going public as Big Tom, the father of Chris Farley’s Tommy in the 1995 comedy “Tommy Boy.”
“So sad this wonderful man has passed,” Peter Segal, director of “Tommy Boy,” tweeted. “Brian was a kind, gentle person with incredible talent. I will miss Big Tom Callahan.”
Actress Mia Farrow posted a picture of her puppy enjoying quality backstage time with the “magnificent” Dennehy when they were in “Love Letters.”
“Just devastated to learn that the magnificent Brian Dennehy has died,” she wrote. “And there are few friends as valued in my life.”