Two-time Tony winner, CT-native ‘Tommy Boy’ actor Brian Dennehy dies at 81


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (NEXSTAR/WTNH) — Veteran actor Brian Dennehy, has died at age 81. Law enforcement officials told TMZ he died from natural causes in Connecticut. They report there will be no autopsy.

The Bridgeport native died on Wednesday in New Haven.

“It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father Brian passed away last night from natural causes, not COVID-related,” his daughter Elizabeth Dennehy tweeted on Thursday. “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 Golden Globe and Tony award winner’s career spanned 50 years over the stage and screen. He is most well known for playing Jake Dunham on “Dynasty,” which he joined in 1981.

Dennehy’s most noteworthy movie appearance was as Big Tom Callahan in 1995’s “Tommy Boy,” starring Chris Farley.

As an actor, Dennehy had an everyman quality to him…perhaps that more so than his ability to play both good guys and bad guys is what truly made him special.

Dennehy was born in Bridgeport in 1938.  He was best known for his roles in “Rambo: First Blood”, and “To Catch A Killer.” Later in his career, Dennehy received acclaim for his stage work in plays by William Shakespeare, and Arthur Miller.

Hollywood was Dennehy’s destination, but he never put Connecticut in his rearview mirror. In fact, he lived in Derby for many years and, in 2004, Dennehy appeared with Mia Farrow in “The Exonerated” at New Haven’s Shubert Theater.

“When we get stars like Brian Dennehy, Mia Farrow…I mean the incredible list of people that have come to this amazing theater. It’s always sad when we have to say goodbye to them, but we always like to think that they’re still part of the spirit of the Shubert,” said Anthony Lupinacci, the Shubert Director of Marketing and Community Relations.

Dennehy won two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe and was nominated for six Emmys. He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2010.

Dennehy is survived by his wife and five children.

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