Sunday, April 14, 2024

The Great Actor Brian Dennehy Dies at Age 81 of Natural Causes, Says Family, Was 2 Time Tony Award Winner, and Golden Globe Winner


Brian Dennehy has died at 81 from natural causes. This great actor was a star of all media, particularly theater and TV. He won a Tony Award and a Golden Globe. He was nominated for 6 prime time Emmy awards.

Big and barrel chested with a hearty laugh, Dennehy was from my hometown, Bridgeport, Connecticut. He was married twice and had five children. He won two Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Play. for “Death of A Salesman” in 1999 and “Long Day’s Journey into Night” in 2003. I can see him in the latter, with Vanessa Redgrave. They were each spectacular.

At one point he had a bad drinking problem. Dennehy said: “I used to be a pretty serious drinker. Heavy in defiance of knowing my family situation, which is chock-full of alcoholism. For a long time I was a functional alcoholic, though it never got in the way of my work. But it affected relationships. I never killed anybody, but I made people unhappy, including myself and people who are extremely important to me, like my kids. It’s easy to say I had a wonderful time and a lot of great years, and I did. There were some bad times, too. So that was not a major give-up. That time was due.”

That never affected his work. He was a constant presence on television dating back to 1977, never missing a year. He recently appeared in 8 episodes of the “Blacklist.” He even had a recurring role on “Dynasty” in the 80s. There wasn’t a minute in the first two decades of his career when Brian Dennehy wasn’t on TV. He had a varied, storied, and remarkable career.

I met Brian often and we chatted a lot. He was a great guy, a real legend in his own time. He will be sorely missed.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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