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Tommy Boy and Cocoon character actor Brian Dennehy dies at age 81

Brian Dennehy has died at the age of 81 after over 40 years working as an actor in both movies and on TV in Hollywood as well as stage performances in New York.

The star, best known for his roles in Cocoon and First Blood, passed away at his home in Connecticut of natural causes, according to TMZ. There will not be an official autopsy.

The character actor got his start in 1977 with a part on TV’s Kojak and went on to become a regular on Dynasty before creating a feature film career.

Sad loss: Brian Dennehy has died at the age of 81 after over 40 years working as an actor in both movies and on TV in Hollywood as well as stage performances in New York. Seen in the 1995 film Tommy Boy with Bo Derek

Sad loss: Brian Dennehy has died at the age of 81 after over 40 years working as an actor in both movies and on TV in Hollywood as well as stage performances in New York. Seen in the 1995 film Tommy Boy with Bo Derek

Sad loss: Brian Dennehy has died at the age of 81 after over 40 years working as an actor in both movies and on TV in Hollywood as well as stage performances in New York. Seen in the 1995 film Tommy Boy with Bo Derek

An icon: The star, best known for his roles in Cocoon and First Blood, passed away at his home in Connecticut of natural causes, according to TMZ. Seen in 2012

An icon: The star, best known for his roles in Cocoon and First Blood, passed away at his home in Connecticut of natural causes, according to TMZ. Seen in 2012

An icon: The star, best known for his roles in Cocoon and First Blood, passed away at his home in Connecticut of natural causes, according to TMZ. Seen in 2012

Brian is survived by his wife Jennifer Arnott – whom he married in 1988 – and their two children Cormack, 27, and Sarah, 25.

The Death Of A Salesman star also has three children, including actress Elizabeth Dennehy, with his first wife Judith Scheff.

Brian did not start acting on screen until later in life.

He attended Columbia University in NYC and then was enlisted in the Marine Corps and stayed in service until 1963.

In 1977 he won a role in the popular series Kojak which set him on his path in Hollywood. 

Hit show: After earning credits on Knots Landing and Fly Away Home, he got the best job in town at the time: a recurring on Dynasty with Joan Collins (pictured) and Linda Evans. In 1981 Brian played Jake Dunham

Hit show: After earning credits on Knots Landing and Fly Away Home, he got the best job in town at the time: a recurring on Dynasty with Joan Collins (pictured) and Linda Evans. In 1981 Brian played Jake Dunham

Hit show: After earning credits on Knots Landing and Fly Away Home, he got the best job in town at the time: a recurring on Dynasty with Joan Collins (pictured) and Linda Evans. In 1981 Brian played Jake Dunham

Another look: Here is another image of Brian in Dynasty; on the left is Colby Chester

Another look: Here is another image of Brian in Dynasty; on the left is Colby Chester

Another look: Here is another image of Brian in Dynasty; on the left is Colby Chester

Next came roles on the hit series Police Woman, MASH, and Lou Grant.

In 1978 Brian landed the mini series Pearl, starred in one episode of Dallas where he played Luther Frickand and in 1979 he was cast as Donald in the movie 10 with Bo Derek.

After earning credits on Knots Landing and Fly Away Home, he got the best job in town at the time: a recurring on Dynasty with Joan Collins and Linda Evans in 1981; Brian played Jake Dunham.

Action film: The spotlight landed him a role as Teasle in 1982's First Blood with Sylvester Stallone

Action film: The spotlight landed him a role as Teasle in 1982's First Blood with Sylvester Stallone

Action film: The spotlight landed him a role as Teasle in 1982’s First Blood with Sylvester Stallone

The spotlight landed him a role as Teasle in 1982’s First Blood with Sylvester Stallone.

His next big film was 1985’s Cocoon, a smash hit. He played Walter opposite Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley and Hume Cronyn in the feel-good film from director Ron Howard.

And then he appeared in the 1988 sequel titled The Return.

In the 1990 Harrison Ford thriller Presumed Innocent he had a key role as Raymond Horgan.

A favorite: His next big film was 1985's Cocoon, a smash hit. He played Walter opposite Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn in the feel-good film from director Ron Howard.

A favorite: His next big film was 1985's Cocoon, a smash hit. He played Walter opposite Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn in the feel-good film from director Ron Howard.

A favorite: His next big film was 1985’s Cocoon, a smash hit. He played Walter opposite Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn in the feel-good film from director Ron Howard.

He did well on stage too: In 2006 he won the best actor Olivier Award for his role in Death of a Salesman at the 2006 British Theater Lawrence Olivier Awards in London

He did well on stage too: In 2006 he won the best actor Olivier Award for his role in Death of a Salesman at the 2006 British Theater Lawrence Olivier Awards in London

He did well on stage too: In 2006 he won the best actor Olivier Award for his role in Death of a Salesman at the 2006 British Theater Lawrence Olivier Awards in London

And then in 1992’s Gladiator boxing film he also had a crucial role.

In 1995 he had a big role opposite his 10 co-star Derek for Tommy Boy. 

Brian landed several TV series in the nineties like Birdland and Nostromo. He worked on The Fighting Fitzgeralds and Just Shoot Me! after that.

With the icons: In 2008 he worked with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro on Righteous Kill

With the icons: In 2008 he worked with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro on Righteous Kill

With the icons: In 2008 he worked with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro on Righteous Kill

A solid role: With Saoirse Ronan, Jon Tenney, Glenn Fleshler, Barbara Tirrell and Mare Winningham in The Seagull in 2018

A solid role: With Saoirse Ronan, Jon Tenney, Glenn Fleshler, Barbara Tirrell and Mare Winningham in The Seagull in 2018

A solid role: With Saoirse Ronan, Jon Tenney, Glenn Fleshler, Barbara Tirrell and Mare Winningham in The Seagull in 2018

His voice can be heard as Django in the 2007 animated Disney classic Ratatouille.

He was last on The Blacklist in 2019. Brian has two movies in post production (Son Of The South and Long Day Journey) and was scheduled to work on The Adventures Of Buddy Thunder.

Dennehy was set to star in the upcoming Amazon Studios series Cocked which includes costars Jason Lee, Dreama Walker, Diora Baird, and Sam Trammell.

Brian also had an accomplished career in theater.

He won two Tony Awards in his lifetime – the first was for Death Of A Salesman in 1999 then for Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night in 2003.

Other notable performances were in Chicago, Inherit The Wind and Desire Under The Elms.

In 2010, he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

More recent: He was seen in 2018 with Annette Bening in NYC at the Spotlight Narrative Premiere of Sony Pictures Classics the Seagull

More recent: He was seen in 2018 with Annette Bening in NYC at the Spotlight Narrative Premiere of Sony Pictures Classics the Seagull

More recent: He was seen in 2018 with Annette Bening in NYC at the Spotlight Narrative Premiere of Sony Pictures Classics the Seagull

 

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