Irish actor J.J. Murphy has died only days after starting his new role on the HBO series Game of Thrones, according to authorities. He was 86.
No cause of death was given for the veteran actor, who worked for decades on the Belfast stage.
On the HBO drama, Murphy was cast to portray Ser Denys Mallister, the oldest member of the Night’s Watch military order, and started filming scenes last week. He died Friday at his home.
The premium cable network declined to say whether Murphy’s role would be recast or if planned scenes involving Mallister will be rewritten. Much of Game of Thrones is filmed in Northern Ireland, and local actors feature prominently in the cast.
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland praised Murphy as a mentor to younger Belfast actors, including Liam Neeson.
Writer Damian Gorman, who worked with Murphy, said: “He was a lovely man and a lovely actor,” reports the Belfast Telegraph.
Murphy’s Belfast funeral is scheduled for Wednesday.