Fellow Actors Mourn Death of Brian Dennehy at Age 81

"Driveways" - 2019 Tribeca Film Festival

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Onetime co-stars and other celebrity admirers of Brian Dennehy took to Twitter today to mourn the loss of the veteran stage, screen and television actor, who died of natural causes at age 81.

“Just devastated to learn that the magnificent Brian Dennehy has died,” Mia Farrow wrote, adding there's “no one I enjoyed working with more. And there are few friends as valued in my life.”

Farrow, who co-starred with the two-time Tony Award winner in his last foray on Broadway in “Love Letters” in 2014, posted the Playbill for the play.

“Any actor who worked with Brian, can tell you how lucky we were,” she wrote. “There was no one more present, truthful or generous to be in a scene with. Broadway, the movies and TV have lost an irreplaceable giant.”

“Hamilton” star Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote that he 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.”

Dana Delany, who appeared in a film with Dennehy, wrote: “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.”

Dee Wallace said she “was deeply saddened today to learn that my costar in `10,' Brian Dennehy, made his transition. He was one of the sweetest, kindest, most generous actors I ever worked with. His energy and love will be greatly missed on this planet.”

Tom Arnold shared a movie set memory about working with Dennehy, a 6- foot-3-inch, 250-pound former college offensive lineman and ex-Marine.

“We were shooting `3 Days With Dad' & I'm basically carrying terminally ill dad Brian Dennehy from his hospital bed to the bathroom over & over. He's not a frail old man. He's a bull. 10th take I ask Brian for some help. Fake it a bit. Bad idea. 11th take was unpleasant. RIP”

Dennehy died Wednesday night of natural causes in New Haven, Connecticut, according to his oldest daughter, actress Elizabeth Dennehy.

“It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes, not Covid-related," she announced on Twitter. “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."

The oldest of three sons of an Associated Press editor and a nurse, Dennehy's first foray into acting came at age 14, when he landed the title role in “Macbeth” as a student at a Brooklyn high school.

After playing football on a scholarship at Columbia University and serving five years in the Marine Corps, he returned to New York City and pursued his acting career while supporting himself with bartending and other side jobs.

He made his movie debut in 1977 in the Burt Reynolds comedy “Semi- Tough,” and went on to appear in 40-odd films, including “First Blood,” “To Catch a Killer,” “Silverado,” “Cocoon,” “Presumed Innocent,” “Tommy Boy,” “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” “Foul Play” and “F/X.”

On the small screen, the multi-Emmy Award nominee's many credits include starring as real-life Chicago detective Jack Reed in five NBC telefilms from 1993 to 1996, writing and directing four of them, and more recently portraying a KGB agent on “The Blacklist.”

On the stage, Dennehy won Tony Awards in 1999 and 2003 for playing Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman” and Tyrone in “Long Day's Journey Into Night,” and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2010.

In addition to Elizabeth and sisters Kathleen and Deirdre, Dennehy is survived by his second wife, costume designer Jennifer Arnott, and their children, Cormac and Sarah, and seven grandchildren.

Photo: Getty Images

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