Brian Dennehy, 'First Blood' and 'Tommy Boy' Actor, Dead at 81

Brian Dennehy, the veteran actor who is known for his roles in films such as Tommy Boy and First Blood, has died, according to TMZ. He was 81 years old. Law enforcement told TMZ that Dennehy died Wednesday night in Connecticut. It has been reported he died of natural causes, and there won't be an official autopsy.

Dennehy started his career in the 1970s with roles on TV shows such as Kojak, M.A.S.H., and Dallas. He got his first big role in 1981 on the TV series Dynasty. That eventually led to him starring opposite Sylvester Stallone in First Blood in 1982, which is the first film in the Rambo series. Dennehy's role as Sheriff William "Will" Teasle earned praise from critics, and when he was asked about the film, he thought it would do well once it was released.

"It had some reasonable expectations, but Stallone’s career had crested and it was kind of drifting off and this was, he was technically playing the same guy, but this was a different kind of movie, it’s a war movie right?" Dennehy said to Brad Gullickson of Flim School Rejects back in 2018. "So, Ted Kotcheff, the director who is a great director, under appreciated guy, knew what the hell he was doing and we all went home at one point.

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"They stopped production for some reason, I can't remember what it was. We came back and were kind of stumbling around and we went home for Christmas I guess it was. And there was a market, there was a film market someplace, I can’t remember where it was in Europe, but all the technicians went over the to the film market to show 15 minutes of the film, or whatever it was. And they came back and they said “My god, the reaction was unbelievable!’. And all of the sudden everybody got serious about that picture and the picture was released and it was another huge, monster hit for Stallone."

Another notable role from Dennehy was Big Tom Callahan in the 1995 film Tommy Boy with Chris Farley and David Spade. In more recent years, Dennehy voiced the character Django in the animated film Ratatouille, and appeared on TV series The Blacklist. He won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in 2001 in the TV movie Death of a Salesman.