Actor Brian Dennehy dies at 81

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His death was not due to the coronavirus, but from natural causes.

The actor was perhaps the foremost living interpreter of O'Neill's works. Dennehy played Sheriff Will Teasle, Rambo's law enforcement opponent and the film's villain.

William Shatner also offered his condolences to the actor's family in a tweet and said that Brian Dennehy was a very talented actor. "He leaves us far more than we can ever thank him for". His last appearance on stage was in "The Iceman Cometh" at BAM in 2015. In 1996 he starred there in O'Neill's "A Touch of the Poet", playing the tyrannical, Falstaff-like Con Melody. All in all, he has almost 200 film and television credits to his name. and he won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in 2001 for the TV movie, "Death of a Salesman". The film was also noted for its sweetness and charm by the New York Times.

Here is a sampling of celebrity reactions to Dennehy's passing, which his daughter Elizabeth Dennehy said was from natural causes.

"Dennehy's Irish roots extend to the West and Southwest of Ireland on both sides of his family - on his father's side, his grandfather was born in Millstreet, County Cork, and his grandmother was born in Kilmacalogue in West Cork".

He played football and studied history at Columbia University, dropping out to serve in the Marine Corps before returning to receive his degree. He subsequently earned his MFA in dramatic arts from Yale.

While actress Dana Delany tweeted: "The stage was what he loved".

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His Broadway credits include Translations, Death of a Salesman, Long Day's Journey Into Night and Inherit the Wind. His last foray on Broadway was in Love Letters opposite Mia Farrow in 2014.

Dennehy's career began in the 1970s and had roles in "Kojak", "MASH", and other shows before he took a recurring role in "Dallas". From that point he maintained a heavy work load for decades.

Dennehy was perhaps best known to movie lovers for his menacing performance as an authoritarian sheriff who butts heads with Sylvester Stallone's John Rambo in 1982's First Blood. He later appeared in "Cocoon", "Silverado" and "Tommy Boy".

Camera IconDennehy with Bryan Brown on the video cover for the film f/x Murder By Illusion. He was fourth-billed in "Legal Eagles", after the star trio of Robert Redford, Debra Winger and Daryl Hannah.

James Woods, who worked with Dennehy in Split Image and Best Seller, wrote on Twitter: "I'm just devastated to hear we lost my beloved friend and colleague, Brian Dennehy". He acted the title position in Macbeth. In 2000 he starred as Gen. Bogan in the Stephen Frears-directed TV adaptation of nuclear armageddon thriller "Fail Safe".

His first marriage, to Judith Scheff, ended in divorce, and in 1988 he married Jennifer Arnott, a costume designer.

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