YouTube/The Paramount Vault
YouTube/The Paramount Vault

Brian Dennehy of 'First Blood' & 'Tommy Boy' Dies at 81

Junie Sihlangu
Apr 17, 2020
07:53 A.M.

On Thursday, April 16, 2020, Brian Dennehy’s daughter, Elizabeth, took to social media to announce her father’s death. The actor was 81-years-old at the time of his death.


Brian’s daughter, Elizabeth, took to her Twitter account this week writing: “It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes.” The actor’s daughter further explained that he hadn’t died from anything COVID-19 related.

She described and paid tribute to her father stating: “[He was] Larger than life, generous to a fault, a proud and devoted father and grandfather.” Elizabeth concluded her post noting how her father would be “missed by his wife Jennifer,” his family, and “many friends.”

Brian Dennehy as Dalton Trumbo in "Trumbo" on January 20, 2012 | Photo: Flickr/Allen Brisson-Smith

Brian Dennehy as Dalton Trumbo in "Trumbo" on January 20, 2012 | Photo: Flickr/Allen Brisson-Smith

Dennehy’s early acting work

The star’s daughter added a black and white photo of him to her post. The two-time Tony Award winner was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut.


He started his acting career doing comedic films, however, he later became known as a dramatic actor. Some of his earliest acting roles included “Semi-Tough” (1977), “Foul Play” (1978), and “10” (1979).

His breakthrough role and others

In 1982, Brian had his breakthrough role as Sheriff Will Teasle in “First Blood.” There he starred alongside Sylvester Stallone who played the main star, Rambo.


The actor also appeared in “Split Image” (1982), “Legal Eagles” (1986), “F/X: Murder By Illusion: (1986), and “Prophet of Evil” (1993). In 1995, he appeared in the popular comedy “Tommy Boy” opposite the late Chris Farley.

Brian’s two Tony Awards

Five years before that he starred in “Presumed Innocent” alongside Harrison Ford. His Tony awards were for his Broadway roles as Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman” (1999) and Tyrone in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” (2003).


His acting roles on television

The actor’s television credits include “Kojak,” “Lou Grant,” “Dallas,” and “Dynasty.” In the 1980s, the star also appeared in an episode of “Miami Vice.”


Being nominated for an Emmy Award

For his television roles, Brian was nominated six times for an Emmy Award. Some of his other jobs before he became an actor included him working as a meat-truck driver, a salesman, a motel clerk, and a bartender.

His last television role

Some people might recognize Brian from his last television role on NBC’s thriller drama series “The Blacklist.” He joined series in season 3 and had appeared in nine episodes to date.

The actor, who died in New Haven, Connecticut, is survived by his second wife, Jennifer, and his children, actress Elizabeth, Kathleen, Dierdre, Cormac, and Sarah.

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