Blue Bloods star Bridget Moynahan posted a tribute to late actor Brad William Henke, a former NFL player who became a character actor after retiring from football. Moynahan previously worked with Henke in an episode of the short-lived Showtime series Going to California. The Orange Is the New Black passed away died on Nov. 29 at 56.
"Had the pleasure of spending time on [the] set of [Going to California] with [Henke] early in my career," Moynahan wrote on Instagram on Dec. 2. "A kind, generous and talented man. Shocking news as he was way too young. Thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
Going to California aired on Showtime between August 2021 and February 2002 and ran 20 episodes. the series starred Sam Trammell and Henke as two friends on a road trip across the U.S., focusing on what happened to them during their travels in California. The series was created by Scott Rosenberg. Moynahan appeared in the episode "Lily of the Field."
The Dexter actor died in his sleep on Nov. 29. His manager, Matt DelPiano, did not share a cause of 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."
In May 2021, Henke told fans on Instagram that he had a 90% blockage in an artery. About a month later, he told fans he had two stents in his heart and had half of his pancreas removed because of a tumor. At the time, he said he was cancer free. His final Instagram post was published on Aug. 13. "Hope you are all well – I'm going to try not to look at Instagram for a month because I waste too much time looking at the reels," he told fans.
Henke was born on April 10, 1966, in Columbus, Nebraska. He played college football at the University of Arizona and was drafted by the New York Giants in 1989. He was cut before training camp and signed with the Denver Broncos. He suffered several injuries, which led to him retiring from football in 1994. That same year, he decided to go into acting.
Henke was best known for playing the corrections officer Desi Piscatella in Netflix's Orange Is the New Black. He was part of the cast when the show won the 2016 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. The actor made his final appearance on television in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Once Upon a Time in El Barrio." Before his death, he finished work on the movie The Ray.
"Brad William Henke... what a loss. He was a great guy. Rest in peace OITNB brother," Tamara Torres, who worked with Henke on Orange Is the New Black, tweeted. "This is a shock. rest well, Brad," casting director Jen Euston wrote. "Thank you for all the work you contributed on OITNB. you will not be forgotten."