‘Dallas’, ‘Dynasty’ & ‘Knots Landing’ Actor Brian Dennehy Dead at 81
Remembering the life of an award-winning actor…
Golden Globe and two-time Tony Award-winner Brian Dennehy, who also appeared on soaps including Dallas and Dynasty, died Wednesday night, April 15, in New Haven, Connecticut from natural causes, Soaps.com has learned. He was 81. His daughter, actress Elizabeth Dennehy (Guiding Light, Christina Bauer/Lindsey Thorpe; The Young and the Restless, Laura Flannery) confirmed his death on Twitter… “It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes… 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.”
Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1938, Dennehy grew up in Long Island, New York, and parlayed a football scholarship into a Columbia University education. His gruff and solid presence stood him in good stead as he went on to graduate studies in dramatic arts at Yale University; later, he played rugby and worked as a stockbroker. Dennehy is survived by his wife, costume designer Jennifer Arnott, who he married in 1988; he was previously married to Judith Scheff from 1958 – 1974. He had three children with Scheff (Elizabeth, Kathleen and Deirdre) and two with Arnott (Cormac and Sarah).
Some of Dennehy’s earliest TV roles put him into primetime soaps, including Dallas (Luther Frick); Dynasty (Jake Dunham) and Knots Landing (James Cargill). He earned a Golden Globe Award in 2001 for Death of a Salesman, a role he won a Tony for in 1999. He earned his second Tony in 2003, in Long Day’s Journey into Night. His most recent long-running TV role was on The Blacklist. But Dennehy was also a regular in films, with a big-screen breakthrough in 1982 as a sheriff in First Blood opposite Sylvester Stallone and as Big Tom in 1995’s Tommy Boy. Over the years his films included Semi-Tough (1977), Cocoon (1985) and Presumed Innocent (1990).
He was remembered by theater and Hollywood fans alike, including Dana Delaney (Love of Life, Amy Russell; As the World Turns, Hayley Wilson) who starred opposite him in Sirens (1999) . “I met Brian in a bar, acted in a movie with him but the stage was what he loved. In rehearsal he said, ‘This is it, kid.’ He was a fellow nutmegger, mick and a Marine. They don’t make his kind anymore.” Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda also gave a shout-out on Twitter, “Was lucky enough to see Brian Dennehy twice on stage, masterful in Love Letters, and monumentally heartbreaking in Death Of A Salesman. A colossus. What a loss.”
Soaps.com sends Dennehy’s family and friends our deepest condolences. Take a look though the gallery below to remember other soap opera alums who have passed this year…