Brad William Henke, 'Orange Is The New Black' and 'The Office' Actor, Dead at 56

Brad William Henke, a former NFL player who turned to acting after he retired, has died. Henke was best known for his award-winning role as prison guard Desi Pscatella on Netflix's Orange Is The New Black. He was 56.

Henke died in his sleep on Tuesday, Nov. 29, sources close to his family told TMZ. The cause of death is unknown. His manager, Matt DelPiano also confirmed Henke's death. "Brad was an incredibly kind man of joyous energy," DelPiano told TMZ. "A very talented actor, he loved being a part of this community....and we loved him back. Our thoughts are with his wife and family."

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(Photo: Scott Gries/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Henke was born in Columbia, Nebraska, and attended the University of Arizona. The New York Giants drafted him in 1989 but was cut before training camp. He spent the 1989 season with the Denver Broncos and played in Super Bowl XXIV. After spending a year in the Arena Football League, injuries forced him to retire from the sport in 1994.

After retiring, Henke began a successful career as an actor, first working in commercials. In 1996, he starred in the movies Mr. Wrong, Space Jam, and The Fan, and was seen in episodes of Chicago Hope, Silk Stalkings, and Nash Bridges. His first recurring role came in The WB's Nikki, a short-lived sitcom starring Nikki Cox.

Henke's other credits include Going to California, The Michael Richards Show, Sports Night, CSI, Judging Amy, Law & Order, Shameless, Grimm, Memphis Beat, and The Office. He had multi-episode roles in October Road, Dexter, Justified, Lost, The Bridge, The Stand, and Sneaky Pete. His role as Desi Piscatella in Orange Is the New Black earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 2016. His final TV appearance came as a police captain in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Once Upon a Time in El Barrio," which aired on April 7.

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The actor was also seen in several films. He can be spotted in The Assassination of Richard Nixon, North Country, Me and You and Everyone We Know, World Trade Center, Hollywoodland, Jobs, Pacific Rim, The Frozen Ground, Draft Day, Fury, Pee-wee's Big Holiday, Split, and Bright. His final movie is The Ray, an upcoming indie action movie starring Mark Dacascos. Henke is survived by his mother, Tammy; his sister, Annette; his wife, Sonja; his stepson and stepdaughter; and grandchild, reports Deadline. He was predeceased by his father, Bill.