Dennehy in July 2009
July 9, 1938 |
Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Judith Scheff (1959–74)
Jennifer Arnott (1988–present)
Brian Mannion Dennehy (born July 9, 1938) is an American actor of film, stage, and television. After gaining recognition for portraying the overzealous Sheriff Will Teasle in First Blood (1982), Dennehy went on to win one Golden Globe, two Tony Awards and six Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
Dennehy was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the son of Hannah and Edward Dennehy, a wire service editor for the Associated Press. He has two brothers, Michael and Edward. He is of Irish ancestry and was raised Roman Catholic. The family relocated to Long Island, New York, where Dennehy attended Chaminade High School in the town of Mineola.
Dennehy enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1959, serving active duty on Okinawa until 1963. In numerous interviews, Dennehy has claimed to be a Vietnam veteran who served a 5-year tour in Vietnam and recounted harrowing tales of his combat there, but according to the book Stolen Valor, Dennehy never served in Vietnam at all and never saw active combat. Stolen Valor and other books surmised that fabrications of PTSD and traumatic events in general were intended to gain honor or recognition. The author of Stolen Valor wrote to Dennehy regarding the discrepancy, but received no reply from the actor, although Dennehy later admitted in an interview that he had lied about his service and apologized for it. Nonetheless, he later repeated the same story about serving in Vietnam in an interview with Joanne Kaufmann of the Wall Street Journal.
After his Marine Corps service, Dennehy went on to attend Columbia, where he played football and majored in history, where he also became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, before moving on to Yale to study dramatic arts. He played rugby union for Old Blue RFC. Prior to his pursuit of an acting career, Dennehy worked as a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch in their main office in downtown New York in the mid 1970s.
His earlier films included several comedies, like Semi-Tough with Burt Reynolds (in which he portrayed a pro football player), Foul Play with Chevy Chase, and 10 with Dudley Moore (as an Acapulco bartender). He later portrayed a corrupt sheriff in the western Silverado and an alien in Cocoon, both released in 1985.
Memorable supporting parts featured Dennehy in such films as Split Image (1982), Legal Eagles (1986), F/X: Murder By Illusion (1986), Presumed Innocent (1990) and F/X2: The Deadly Art of Illusion (1991).
Dennehy gradually became a valuable character actor but also achieved leading-man status in the thriller Best Seller (1987) co-starring James Woods. He also starred in the Peter Greenaway film The Belly of an Architect, for which he won the Best Actor Award at the 1987 Chicago International Film Festival. Commenting upon this unusual venture, Dennehy said, "I've been in a lot of movies but this is the first film I've made."
He went on to star as Harrison in the Australian film The Man from Snowy River II in 1988.
One of his most well-known roles came in the 1995 Chris Farley-David Spade comedy Tommy Boy as Big Tom Callahan. He also was reunited with his 10 co-star Bo Derek in Tommy Boy, in which she played his wife.
Dennehy had a voice role in the animated movie Ratatouille as Django, the rat chef Remy's father. He appeared as the superior officer of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in the 2008 cop drama Righteous Kill and as the father of Russell Crowe in the 2010 suspense film The Next Three Days.
Dennehy began his professional acting career in small guest roles in such 1970s and 1980s series as Kojak, Lou Grant, Dallas and Dynasty. He also appeared in an episode of Miami Vice during the 1987–88 season.
Dennehy portrayed Sergeant Ned T. "Frozen Chosen" Coleman in the television movie A Rumor of War (1980) opposite Brad Davis. He continued to appear in such high-profile television movies as Skokie (1981), Split Image (1982), Day One, (1989), A Killing in a Small Town (1990) opposite Barbara Hershey, In Broad Daylight (1991), Scott Turow's The Burden of Proof and the miniseries A Season in Purgatory. He also played the title role in HBO's Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story.
Dennehy was nominated for Emmy Awards six times for his television movies. He was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie for his performance as John Wayne Gacy in To Catch a Killer, and he was nominated that same year in a different category, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie, for The Burden of Proof (1992). Other Emmy nominatations were for his work in A Killing in a Small Town, Murder in the Heartland (1993) and for the Showtime cable TV movie Our Fathers (2005), which was about the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. In 2000, Dennehy was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie for a television presentation of his performance as Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman which he had performed on Broadway. The performance did, however, precipitate a Golden Globe Award.
In January 2007, he starred in the episode "Scheherazade" of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as a retired criminal who wants to reconnect with his daughter and admit his crimes before dying of a terminal disease thus eventually clearing a wrongfully imprisoned inmate. In April 2008, Dennehy guest-starred as a Teamster boss in an episode of 30 Rock.
Dennehy has won two Tony Awards, both times for Best Lead Actor in a Play. The first win was for Death of a Salesman (for which he also won a Laurence Olivier Award for the production's London run), in 1999, and the second was for Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night in 2003. Both productions were directed by Robert Falls and were originally produced at the Goodman Theatre company in Chicago.
On stage, Dennehy has made frequent performances in the Chicago theater world, and made his Broadway debut in 1995 in Brian Friel's Translations. In 1999, he was the first male performer to be voted the Sarah Siddons Award for his work in Chicago theater. He made a return to Broadway in 2007 as Matthew Harrison Brady in Inherit the Wind opposite Christopher Plummer, then returned again opposite Carla Gugino in a 2009 revival of Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms.
In 2008, Dennehy appeared at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, appearing in All's Well That Ends Well as the King of France, and a double bill of plays, Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape and Eugene O'Neill's Hughie, where Dennehy reprised the role of Erie Smith.
In 2011, Dennehy returned to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in the role of Sir Toby Belch in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. He also played Max in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, which is the first Pinter work to be produced there.
In April through June 2012, he played the role of Larry Slade in the Eugene O'Neill play The Iceman Cometh at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, which he reprised in 2015 when the production, with most of the Goodman Theater production cast, was revived at the BAM Harvey Theater in New York City.
Influence in popular media
In the comic book series Ultimate Spider-Man, that series' version of the villain Norman Osborn was rendered by artist Mark Bagley to resemble actor Brian Dennehy, as per writer Brian Michael Bendis' instructions.
He is the father of actresses Elizabeth Dennehy and Kathleen Dennehy. He resides in Woodstock, Connecticut. His son Cormac Dennehy graduated from Pomfret School in 2011, while his daughter, Sarah, attends Woodstock Academy. He gave a commencement address at Pomfret School on May 29, 2011, when Cormac graduated. He and his wife, Jennifer, adopted a child.
|1977||Looking for Mr. Goodbar||Surgeon|
|1979||10||Don the Bartender|
|1979||Butch and Sundance: The Early Days||O.C. Hanks|
|1980||Little Miss Marker||Herbie|
|1982||Split Image||Kevin Stetson|
|1982||First Blood||Sheriff Will Teasle|
|1983||Gorky Park||William Kirwill|
|1983||Never Cry Wolf||Rose Little|
|1984||Finders Keepers||Mayor Frizzoli|
|1984||The River Rat||Doc Cole|
|1985||Twice in a Lifetime||Nick|
|1985||The Check Is in the Mail||Richard Jackson|
|1986||F/X||Lt. Leo McCarthy|
|1986||Legal Eagles||C.J. Cavanaugh|
|1987||The Belly of an Architect||Stourley Kracklite|
|1987||Best Seller||Lt. Dennis Meechum|
|1988||Miles from Home||Frank Roberts, Sr.|
|1988||The Man from Snowy River II||Harrison|
|1988||Cocoon: The Return||Walter|
|1989||Georg Elser – Einer aus Deutschland||Wagner|
|1990||The Last of the Finest (Blue Heat)||Frank Daly|
|1990||Presumed Innocent||Raymond Horgan|
|1994||Jackaboy Blue||Guggles McMillian|
|1995||Tommy Boy||Big Tom Callahan II|
|1995||The Stars Fell on Henrietta||Big Dave McDermot|
|1996||William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet||Ted Montague|
|1999||Out of the Cold||David Bards|
|2001||Summer Catch||John Schiffner|
|2001||Warden of Red Rock||Sheriff Church||Television movie|
|2001||Three Blind Mice||Matthew Hope|
|2002||Stolen Summer||Father Kelly|
|2002||Code Yellow: Hospital at Ground Zero||Narrator|
|2002||Drawing First Blood||Himself||Short film|
|2004||She Hate Me||Chairman Billy Church|
|2005||Assault on Precinct 13||Jasper O'Shea|
|2005||Tommy Boy: Behind the Laughter||Himself||Short film|
|2005||10th and Wolf||Horvath|
|2006||The Ultimate Gift||Gus|
|2006||Everyone's Hero||Babe Ruth||Voice|
|2007||War Eagle, Arkansas||Unknown|
|2008||Righteous Kill||Lt. Hingus|
|2010||The Next Three Days||George Brennan|
|2010||Meet Monica Velour||Pop Pop|
|2011||The Big Year||Raymond Harris|
|2015||Knight of Cups||Joseph||Post-production|
|1977||Kojak||Peter Connor||Episode: "The Godson"|
|1977||Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye||Longshoreman||Television movie|
|1977||It Happened at Lakewood Manor||Fire Chief||Television movie|
|1977||Lou Grant||Wilson||Episode: "Nazi"|
|1977||M*A*S*H||Ernie Connors||Episode: "Souvenirs"|
|1978||A Real American Hero||Buford Pusser||Television movie|
|1978||Pearl||Sgt. Otto Chain||3 episodes|
|1978||Dallas||Luther Frick||Episode: "Winds of Vengeance"|
|1978||Ruby and Oswald||George Paulsen||Television movie|
|1978||A Death in Canaan||Barney Parsons||Television movie|
|1979||Big Shamus, Little Shamus||Arnie Sutter||2 episodes|
|1979||The Jericho Mile||Dr. D||Television movie|
|1979||Silent Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story||Mr. O'Neil||Television movie|
|1980||A Rumor of War||Sgt. Ned Coleman||Television movie|
|1980||The Seduction of Miss Leona||Bliss Dawson||Television movie|
|1981||Dynasty||DA Jake Dunham||5 episodes|
|1981||Skokie||Chief Arthur Buchanan||Television movie|
|1981||Fly Away Home||Tim Arnold||Television movie|
|1982||Star of the Family||Leslie Krebs||10 episodes|
|1983||I Take These Men||Phil Zakarian||Television movie|
|1983||Blood Feud||Edward Grady Partin||Television movie|
|1984||Cagney and Lacey||Michael MacGruder||Episode: "The Bounty Hunter"|
|1984||Hunter||Dr. Bolin||Episode: "Hunter"|
|1984||Off Sides||Sgt. Cheever||Television movie|
|1985||Evergreen||Matthew Malone||3 episodes|
|1985||The Last Place on Earth||Frederick Cook||2 episodes|
|1986||Acceptable Risks||Don Sheppard||Television movie|
|1987||The Lion of Africa||Sam Marsh||Television movie|
|1987||Miami Vice||Reverend Billy Bob Proverb||Episode: "Amen...Send Money"|
|1988||A Father's Revenge||Paul Hobart||Television movie|
|1989||Day One||General Leslie Groves||Television movie|
|1989||Perfect Witness||James Falcon||Television movie|
|1990||A Killing in a Small Town||Ed Reivers||Television movie|
|1990||Rising Son||Gus Robinson||Television movie|
|1990||Pride and Extreme Prejudice||Bruno Morenz||Television movie|
|1991||In Broad Daylight||Len Rowan||Television movie|
|1992||The Diamond Fleece||Lt. Merritt Outlaw||Television movie|
|1992||Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story||Jackie Presser||Television movie|
|1992||To Catch a Killer||John Wayne Gacy||Television movie|
|1992||The Burden of Proof||Dixon Hartnell||Television movie|
|1992||Deadly Matrimony||Sgt. Jack Reed||Television movie|
|1993||Foreign Affairs||Chuck Mumpson||Television movie|
|1993||Prophet of Evil: The Ervil LeBaron Story||Ervil LaBaron||Television movie|
|1993||Final Appeal||Perry Sundquist||Television movie|
|1993||Jack Reed: Badge of Honor||Jack Reed||Television movie|
|1993||Murder in the Heartland||John McCarthur||Television movie|
|1994||Leave of Absence||Sam||Television movie|
|1994||Midnight Movie||James Boyce||Television movie|
|1994||Jack Reed: A Search for Justice||Jack Reed||Television movie|
|1994||Birdland||Dr. Brian McKenzie||4 episodes|
|1995||Jack Reed: One of Our Own||Jack Reed||Television movie|
|1995||Shadow of a Doubt||Charlie Sloan||Television movie|
|1996||Dead Man's Walk||Major Chvallie||2 episodes|
|1996||Jack Reed: A Killer Among Us||Jack Reed||Television movie|
|1996||Jack Reed: Death and Vengeance||Jack Reed||Television movie|
|1996||A Season in Purgatory||Gerald Bradly||Television movie|
|1996||Undue Influence||Paul Madriani||Television movie|
|1996||Nostromo||Joshua C. Holyrod||4 episodes|
|1997||Indefensible: The Truth About Edward Brannigan||Eddie Brannigan||Television movie|
|1998–2003||Just Shoot Me||Red Finch||4 episodes|
|1998||Voyage of Terror||U.S. President||Television movie|
|1998||Thanks of a Grateful Nation||Senator Riegle||Television movie|
|1999||Netforce||Lowell Davidson||Television movie|
|1999||Sirens||Lt. Denby||Television movie|
|1999||Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke||Louis Bromfield||Television movie|
|2000||Fail Safe||Gen. Bogan||Television movie|
|2000||Death of a Salesman||Willy Loman||Television movie|
|2001||The Fighting Fitzgeralds||Fitzgerald||10 episodes|
|2002||A Season on the Brink||Bobby Knight||Television movie|
|2003||The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone||Tom Stone||Television movie|
|2004||Category 6: Day of Destruction||Andy Goodman||Television movie|
|2005||Our Fathers||Father Dominic Spagnolia||Television movie|
|2005||The Exonerated||Gary Gauger||Television movie|
|2005||The West Wing||Senator Rafe Framingham||Episode: "Ninety Miles Away"|
|2007||Law and Order: Special Victims Unit||Judson||Episode: "Scheherezade"|
|2007||Marco Polo||Kublai Khan||Television movie|
|2007||Masters of Science Fiction||Bedzyk||Episode: "The Discarded"|
|2008||30 Rock||Mickey J||Episode: "Sandwich Day"|
|2009||Rules of Engagement||Roy||Episode: "Dad's Visit"|
|2010||Rizzoli & Isles||Detective Kenny Leahy||Episode: "Boston Strangler Redux"|
|2012||The Good Wife||Bucky||2 episodes|
|2013||The Challenger||Chairman William Rogers||Television movie|
|2013||The Big C||Mr. Tolkey||Episode: "The Finale"|
Awards and nominations
- "Brian Dennehy Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
- "Brian Dennehy Biography". Yahoo! Movies. 2008. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
- Parsi, Novid (January 7, 2010). "Dennehy’s Last Tape". Time Out. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
I come from an Irish Catholic family,...
- Harmetz, Aljean (April 23, 1989). "FILM; For Brian Dennehy, Character Tells All". The New York Times. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
- Ehrenberg, Nicholas (November 11, 2005). "Fake War Stories Exposed". CBS News. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- Burkett, B. G. (September 2, 1998). Stolen Valor : How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History (1st ed.). Verity Pr Inc. ISBN 096670360X.
- Vasterling, Jennifer; Bryant, Richard; Keane, Terence (2012). PTSD and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Guilford Press. p. 177.
- "Exclusive: Brian Dennehy Lands "Meaty" Sitcom Role". TV Guide. 2008. Retrieved September 4, 2008.
- "Brian Dennehy's IMDB profile". Retrieved March 20, 2009.
- "IFTA nominations for Farrell & Gleeson". RTÉ. January 8, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
- Ahearn, Victoria (March 12, 2009). "Brian Dennehy narrates film on Toronto's role in Irish famine". The Star. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
- "The Bull in winter". The Irish Times. January 1, 2011.
- Fintan O'Toole (January 1, 2011). "Real-life dramas? We don't do those. But John B Keane did". The Irish Times.
- Emer O'Kelly (January 23, 2011). "The ignoble passions of The Field fail to ignite". Independent.ie.
- Bullen, Robert (May 8, 2012). "Goodman's Iceman Cometh, Starring Nathan Lane, Chills to the Core". Huffington Post.
- Isherwood, Charles (February 12, 2015). "Review: ‘The Iceman Cometh’ Revived, With Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy". New York Times.
- Brucie, Dylan (March 2007). "Ultimate Spider-Man". Wizard Xtra!. p. 117.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Brian Dennehy.|
- Brian Dennehy at the Internet Movie Database
- Brian Dennehy at the Internet Broadway Database
- Brian Dennehy at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Photograph of Dennehy as "Doctor D." in Michael Mann's "The Jericho Mile" (1979)
- Star File: Brian Dennehy