'To Catch a Killer' actor Brian Dennehy dies at 81 due to cardiac arrest

Veteran actor Brian Dennehy popularly for his Tony Award-winning performances in 'Death of a Salesman' in 1999 and 'Long Day’s Journey Into Night' in 2003, passed away Wednesday in New Haven, Connecticut, of natural causes. He was 81 years old. Representatives of actor ICM Partners reportedly announced his death. His agent, Brian Mann, told The Chicago Tribune that the cause was cardiac arrest as a result of sepsis.

Known for his broad frame, his booming voice, and his ability to portray the good and the bad with equal poise, Dennehy won two Tony Awards, one Golden Globe, and was nominated for six Emmy Awards. It was included in the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2010.

The tributes came from Hollywood and Broadway, including from Lin-Manuel Miranda, who said he saw Dennehy twice on stage and called the actor a colossus. Actor Michael McKean said Dennehy was brilliant and versatile, a powerful actor and a very nice man too. Dana Delany, who appeared in a movie with Dennehy, said: They are not so nice anymore.

Among his more than 40 films, he played a sheriff who jailed Rambo in First Blood, a serial killer in To Catch a Killer, and a corrupt sheriff shot dead by Kevin Kline in Silverado. He also had some benign roles: the bartender who comforts Dudley Moore at 10 and the sensible leader of the aliens in Cocoon and its sequel.

Dennehy finally grew tired of life in the studio. Movies used to be fun, he observed in an interview. They took care of you, first class. Those days are gone.

Dennehy had a long connection to the Goodman Theater in Chicago, which was famous for great drama. He appeared in Galileo by Bertolt Brecht in 1986 and then in Cherry Orchard in Chekhov with much lower wages than he earned in Hollywood. In 1990, he played the role of Hickey in Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, a play he repeated at Goodman with Nathan Lane in 2012 and in Brooklyn in 2013.

In 1998 Dennehy appeared on Broadway in the classic role of Willy Loman, the frayed swindler in Miller's Death of a Salesman and won the Tony for his performance.

What this actor is looking for is almost a quality of common man, with a great emotional expansion that coincides with his monumental physique, wrote Ben Brantley in his review of the work for The New York Times. However, these emotions sound so infallibly true that Mr. Dennehy seems to forcefully kidnap you, trapping you inside Willy's psyche.

He was awarded another Tony in 2003 for his role in O'Neill's Long Journey to the Night. On the podium, after thanking his family, co-stars and producers, and complementing his competitors, he said: Eugene O'Neill's words: Must be heard. They must be listened to, and listened to and listened to. And thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to list them.

Dennehy was born on July 9, 1938 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the first of three children. His acting adventure began when he was 14 years old in New York City and a student at a Brooklyn high school. He played the lead role in Macbeth. He played soccer on a scholarship at Columbia University, and served five years in the U.S. Marines.

Back in New York City in 1965, he sought acting while working side jobs. I learned firsthand how a trucker lives, what a bartender does, how a salesman thinks, he told The New York Times in 1989. I had to make a living from those jobs, not just pretend.

His parents, Ed Dennehy, editor of The Associated Press in New York, and Hannah Dennehy, a nurse, could never understand why their son decided to act. Anyone raised in a first or second generation immigrant family knows they are expected to advance in the field, Dennehy told Columbia College Today in 1999. Acting did not qualify in any way.

Dennehy, 6-foot-3, went to Hollywood for his first movie, Semi-Tough, starring Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson. Dennehy was paid $ 10,000 a week for the 10-week job, which he thought seemed like all the money in the world.

Among his films: Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Foul Play, Little Miss Marker, Split Image, Gorky Park, Legal Eagles, Miles from Home, Return to Snowy River, Presumed Innocent, Romeo and Juliet, and Assault on Precinct 13. He played the father of the titular character Chris Farley in the 1995 comedy Tommy Boy.

He played serial killer John Wayne Gacy in the 1991 television movie To Catch a Killer and union leader Jackie Presser on the HBO Teamster Boss special a year later. I try to interpret the villains as if they were good and good as if they were villains, he said in 1992.

He worked until the age of 70, on projects such as SundanceTV's Hap and Leonard, the movie The Seagull with Elisabeth Moss and Annette Bening, and Samuel Beckett's Endgame play at the Long Wharf Theater. Her last foray into Broadway was in Love Letters alongside Mia Farrow in 2014.

He is survived by his second wife, costume designer Jennifer Arnott, and their two children, Cormac and Sarah. He is also survived by three daughters, Elizabeth, Kathleen and Deirdre, from a previous marriage to Judith Scheff.