'First Blood ' and 'Tommy Boy' Star Brian Dennehy Dies at 81 of Natural Causes  

The actor died of natural causes, not related to COVID-19, his daughter said

Brian Dennehy
Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty`

Brian Dennehy, a two-time Tony Award winner, has died. He was 81.

The actor’s daughter, Elizabeth Dennehy, announced the news on Twitter Thursday, telling fans that it was due to natural causes and not related to COVID-19.

“It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes, not Covid-related,” she shared. “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.”

The actor, born in Connecticut, began his career doing comedic films, although he later became known primarily as a dramatic actor. Brian had roles in Semi-Tough (1977) with Burt Reynolds, Foul Play (1978) with Chevy Chase and 10 (1979) with Dudley Moore. In 1982, he had his breakthrough role as the overzealous sheriff, Will Teasle in First Blood with Sylvester Stallone as Rambo.

He had several memorable parts in films such as Split Image (1982), Legal Eagles (1986), F/X: Murder By Illusion (1986) and Prophet of Evil (1993).

The actor worked opposite the late Chris Farley in the popular comedy Tommy Boy (1995). Brian also starred in Presumed Innocent (1990), starring opposite Harrison Ford.

Brian Dennehy
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Dennehy secured his Tony Awards for his starring Broadway roles as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman (1999) and Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey Into Night (2003).

On TV, Dennehy worked on several series in the 1970s and 1980s such as Kojak, Lou Grant, Dallas and Dynasty. He also appeared in an episode of Miami Vice in the 1980s.

His career in TV led to six Emmy Award nominations for his television movies such as his performance as John Wayne Gacy in To Catch a Killer.

Brian Dennehy

More recently, Dennehy had recurring roles as a KGB agent on NBC’s The Blacklist, as well as an Irish mob boss on the 2015 crime drama Public Morals and a sheriff on Sundance TV’s Hap and Leonard.

He also worked on a number of films last year, including Driveways, 3 Days with Dad and the short, Master Maggie.

Dennehy is survived by his second wife, Jennifer, and his children, actress Elizabeth, Kathleen, Dierdre, Cormac and Sarah.

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