Brian Dennehy, the actor who began in movies as a macho hefty and afterward in his career won plaudits for his stage work in drama by William Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov, Eugene O’Neill, and Arthur Miller, has expired.
Known for his wide framework, booming voice and capacity to play good guys and bad men with equal aplomb, Dennehy won two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe, a Laurence Olivier Award and was nominated for six Emmys.
Tributes came from Hollywood and Broadway, for example from Lin-Manuel Miranda, who stated that he watched Dennehy twice onstage and known as the celebrity”a colossus.” Actor Michael McKean stated Dennehy was”versatile and brilliant, a powerhouse performer and a very wonderful guy too.” Dana Delany, who seemed at a film together with Dennehy, said: “They do not create his sort .”
One of his 40-odd movies, he played with a sheriff that hailed Rambo in First Blood, a serial killer To Catch a Killer, along with a corrupt sheriff calmed down from Kevin Kline at Silverado. He had some benign characters: the bartender who consoles Dudley Moore at 10 along with the levelheaded pioneer of aliens in Cocoon and its sequel.
Finally, Dennehy wearied of their studio lifetime. “Films was enjoyable,” he observed in a meeting. “They cared for you, first-class.
He emerged at Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo in 1986 and afterward Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard at much lower wages than he earned Hollywood. In 1990 he played the role of Hickey at Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, a drama he reprised in the Goodman with Nathan Lane in 2012 and in Brooklyn in 2013.
Back in 1998, Dennehy appeared on Broadway at the timeless character of Willy Loman, the weary hustler at Miller’s Death of a Salesman and won the Tony for his operation.
“This celebrity goes for is near to an everyman quality, using a grand emotional expansiveness which matches with his enormous body,” wrote Ben Brantley in his critique of the drama for The New York Times. “Nevertheless these feelings ring so unerringly accurate that Mr. Dennehy appears to kidnap you with force, trapping you inside Willy’s mind”
In the podium, after devoting his loved ones, co-stars, and manufacturers and complementing his rivals, he explained: “The words of Eugene O’Neill — they have got to be noticed. They have got to be noticed and heard and noticed. And thank you for providing us the opportunity to enunciate them.”
His venture into acting started when he was 14 in NYC and a student in a Brooklyn high school. He played soccer on a scholarship at Columbia University, and he served five years at the U.S. Marines.
Back in NYC in 1965, he chased acting while functioning at side occupations. “I heard firsthand the way the truck driver resides, what a bartender does, the way the salesman believes,” he told The New York Times in 1989. “I needed to earn a life within those tasks, not just pretend.”
His parents Ed Dennehyan editor for The Associated Press in New York, also Hannah Dennehy, a nurse could never know why their son opted to act. “Anyone increased in a first or second-generation immigrant household understands that you’re expected to advance the ball down the field,” Dennehy informed Columbia College Now in 1999. “Acting did not qualify at all.”
The 6-foot-3-inch Dennehy went to Hollywood because of his very first film, Semi-Tough starring Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson. Dennehy was paid $10,000 per week for 10 week’s job, which he believed”looked as though it had been all the money on earth.” He became a professional performer at age 38.
He played the father of Chris Farley’s titular role in the 1995 humor Tommy Boy.
“I attempt to play villains as Though they’re good guys and good men like they’re villains,” he explained in 1992
He worked deep in his 70s, in these endeavors as SundanceTV’s Hap and Leonard, the movie The Seagull with Elisabeth Moss along with Annette Bening as well as the drama Endgame by Samuel Beckett in the Long Wharf Theatre. His final foray on Broadway was in Love Letters opposite Mia Farrow in 2014.
“Only shattered to find out that the glorious Brian Dennehy has expired. There’s not anyone I liked working with much more. And there are only a few friends as appreciated in my entire life,” Farrow wrote Thursday.
Additional tributes came from Treat Williams, who wrote: “A fantastic good celebrity has passed” along with Josh Gad, who stated Dennehy’s performance in”Death of A Salesman” will return as one of those crowing performances delivered in a point.”
He’s survived by his second wife, costume designer Jennifer Arnott and both kids, Cormac and Sarah. He is survived by three brothers — Elizabeth, Kathleen, and Deirdre — by a prior marriage to Judith Scheff.