Character actor Brian Dennehy, star of 'Tommy Boy' and 'First Blood' has passed away at 81

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Character actor Brian Dennehy, star of 'Tommy Boy' and 'First Blood' has passed away at 81

The actor died Wednesday night in New Haven, Connecticut of natural causes.

Brian Dennehy, the Tony award winning actor and star of such classic films as First Blood, Tommy Boy, and Cocoon has passed away at the age of 81 in New Haven, Connecticut.

“It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes, not Covid-related. 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,” his daughter, actress Elizabeth Dennehy, tweeted on Thursday.

Born on July 9, 1938, in Bridgeport, CT, Dennehy joined the Marine Corps in 1958 and served on Okinawa for five years. Early on he drove a truck, was a butcher and also worked as a stock broker alongside Martha Stewart at Moness, Williams, & Seidel in New York City.

Dennehy won his first Tony for his star turn as Willy Loman in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” in 1999 and his second Tony for his performance as James Tyrone in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” in 2003.

The actor made his TV and feature debut in 1977 — a year in which he made appearances in at least 10 series or telepics, including “Kojak,” “MASH” and “”Lou Grant,” and the films “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” and “Semi-Tough.” He'd had worked in film and television for decades.

He received mainstream attention for his role as Teasle, the brutal small-town cop who harasses traumatized veteran John Rambo in the legendary action thriller First Blood. He'd done many other films over the years, from Gorky Park to Cocoon to the David Spade/Chris Farley comedy Tommy Boy.

Denney was married twice, the first time to Judith Scheff. He is survived by second wife Jennifer Arnott, a costume designer, whom he married in 1988; three daughters by Scheff, actresses Elizabeth and Kathleen, and Deirdre; as well as son Cormac and daughter Sarah with Arnott.

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