Brian Dennehy, one of Hollywood's most respected and beloved character actors, died on Wednesday at age 81. The actor was a star on the stage and small and big screens, never retiring. He worked up until the last days of his life, and has two movies in post-production. The Golden Globe winner was seen on television as recently as December, appearing in an episode of NBC's The Blacklist.
In 2019, Dennehy appeared in the films Driveways, an indie movie screened at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in April. Directed by Andrew Ahn, the movie centers on a young boy who helps his mother clean out his late aunt's house and ends up befriending a retiree next door. His second film of 2019 was Larry Clarke's 3 Days With Dad, a comedy co-starring J.K. Simmons and Lesley Ann Warren.
This year, Dennehy was slated to appear in two films, both of which are in post-production. Son of the South was written and directed by Barry Alexander Brown, Spike Lee's go-to editor and an Oscar nominee for editing BlacKkKlansman. It is inspired by Bob Zellner's autobiography The Wrong Side of Murder Creek, with Lucas Till as Zellner. The film tells the story of a Klansman's grandson who joins the Civil Rights movement. Lucy Hale, Kulia Ormond and Cedric the Entertainer also star.
Dennehy also signed to star in Long Day Journey, directed and co-written by Francis Delia and starring Danny Glover. According to Dennehy's IMDb page, he was also signed on to star in The Adventures of Buddy Thunder, which was in pre-production at the time of his death. That movie will star Angela Lansbury and is about a disabled man who trains a racing dog after his wife dies.
Dennehy's last appearance on television was in The Blacklist episode "Katarina Rostova (No. 3)," which aired on Dec. 13. Dennehy appeared in seven episodes of the crime drama as Dominic Wilkinson, the grandfather of Elizabeth Keen. The actor also appeared in six episodes of SunddanceTV's Hap and Leonard.
Dennehy died from natural causes Wednesday night at his Connecticut home, his daughter Elizabeth announced on Twitter. "It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes, not Covid-related," she wrote. "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."
During his career, which stretched back to the mid 1970s, Dennehy racked up over 180 credits. Some of his best known films include First Blood, Tommy Boy, Cocoon, Silverado and Ratatouille. He earned six Emmy nominations and won a Golden Globe for the 2000 made-for-TV version of Death of a Salesman. The play's Wily Loman became his signature stage role, winning a Tony and Olivier Award for playing the part in the 1999 production.