Dennehy in July 2009
Brian Manion Dennehy
July 9, 1938
Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.
Judith Scheff (m. 1959–1974)
Jennifer Arnott (m. 1988)
Brian Manion Dennehy (born July 9, 1938) is an American actor of film, stage, and television. A winner of one Golden Globe, two Tony Awards and a recipient of six Primetime Emmy Award nominations, he gained initial recognition for his role as Sheriff Will Teasle in First Blood (1982). He has had roles in numerous films including Gorky Park (1983), Silverado (1985), Cocoon (1985), F/X (1986), Presumed Innocent (1990), Romeo + Juliet (1996), and Knight of Cups (2015). Dennehy won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film for his role as Willy Loman in the television film Death of a Salesman (2000).
Dennehy was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the son of Hannah (Mannion) 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.
A football scholarship paved the way to Columbia University in New York City, where he played football, earned a BA in history and became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He went on to graduate studies in dramatic arts at Yale University. He played rugby union for Old Blue RFC. Prior to pursuing acting Dennehy worked as a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch in their Manhattan office 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), F/X2: The Deadly Art of Illusion (1991) and Prophet of Evil (1993)
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, father of the rat chef Remy. 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 films as Skokie (1981), Split Image (1982), Day One, (1989), A Killing in a Small Town (1990) opposite Barbara Hershey. 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.
Most recently Dennehy starred as Elizabeth Keen's grandfather on the NBC series The Blacklist.
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 Brooklyn, New York.
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.
Dennehy is a 2006 album by the rapper Serengeti (real name David Cohn). The album's title track is performed from the point of view of "Kenny Dennis", a Chicago resident and avid sports fan in his 40s whose favorite actors are Brian Dennehy and Tom Berenger. Cohn, watching a broadcast of the Little League World Series in which the competitors were asked their favorite actors and athletes, imagined someone naming Dennehy as his favorite actor. He then used this as the starting point to develop the rest of the Kenny character, which has become a recurring alter ego for Serengeti.
Dennehy enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1958 and served on Okinawa until 1963. In numerous interviews, Dennehy claimed to be a Vietnam veteran who served a five-year tour there and recounted harrowing tales of combat, but according to the book Stolen Valor, Dennehy never served in Vietnam and never saw active combat. 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.
|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|
|1990||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||Romeo + Juliet||Ted Montague|
|1999||Out of the Cold||David Bards|
|2001||Summer Catch||John Schiffner|
|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|
|2013||The Challenger||Chairman William Rogers|
|2015||Knight of Cups||Joseph|
|TBA||Son of the South||Grandfather||Post-production|
|1977||Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye||Longshoreman|
|1977||It Happened at Lakewood Manor||Fire Chief|
|1978||A Real American Hero||Buford Pusser|
|1978||Ruby and Oswald||George Paulsen|
|1978||A Death in Canaan||Barney Parsons|
|1979||The Jericho Mile||Dr. D|
|1979||Silent Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story||Mr. O'Neil|
|1980||A Rumor of War||Sgt. Ned Coleman|
|1980||The Seduction of Miss Leona||Bliss Dawson|
|1981||Skokie||Chief Arthur Buchanan|
|1981||Fly Away Home||Tim Arnold|
|1983||I Take These Men||Phil Zakarian|
|1983||Blood Feud||Edward Grady Partin|
|1984||Off Sides (Pigs vs. Freaks)||Sgt. Cheever|
|1986||Acceptable Risks||Don Sheppard|
|1987||The Lion of Africa||Sam Marsh|
|1988||A Father's Revenge||Paul Hobart|
|1989||Day One||General Leslie Groves|
|1989||Perfect Witness||James Falcon|
|1990||A Killing in a Small Town||Ed Reivers|
|1990||Rising Son||Gus Robinson|
|1989||Pride and Extreme Prejudice||Bruno Morenz|
|1991||In Broad Daylight||Len Rowan|
|1992||The Diamond Fleece||Lt. Merritt Outlaw|
|1992||Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story||Jackie Presser|
|1992||To Catch a Killer||John Wayne Gacy|
|1992||The Burden of Proof||Dixon Hartnell|
|1992||Deadly Matrimony||Sgt. Jack Reed|
|1993||Foreign Affairs||Chuck Mumpson|
|1993||Prophet of Evil: The Ervil LeBaron Story||Ervil LeBaron|
|1993||Final Appeal||Perry Sundquist|
|1993||Jack Reed: Badge of Honor||Jack Reed|
|1993||Murder in the Heartland||John McCarthur|
|1994||Leave of Absence||Sam|
|1994||Midnight Movie||James Boyce|
|1994||Jack Reed: A Search for Justice||Jack Reed|
|1995||Jack Reed: One of Our Own||Jack Reed|
|1995||Shadow of a Doubt||Charlie Sloan|
|1996||Jack Reed: A Killer Among Us||Jack Reed|
|1996||Jack Reed: Death and Vengeance||Jack Reed|
|1996||A Season in Purgatory||Gerald Bradly|
|1996||Undue Influence||Paul Madriani|
|1997||Indefensible: The Truth About Edward Brannigan||Eddie Brannigan|
|1998||Voyage of Terror||U.S. President|
|1998||Thanks of a Grateful Nation||Senator Riegle|
|1999||Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke||Louis Bromfield|
|2000||Fail Safe||Gen. Bogan|
|2000||Death of a Salesman||Willy Loman|
|2001||Warden of Red Rock||Sheriff Church|
|2002||A Season on the Brink||Bobby Knight|
|2003||The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron||Mr. Blue|
|2003||The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone||Tom Stone|
|2004||Category 6: Day of Destruction||Andy Goodman|
|2005||Our Fathers||Father Dominic Spagnolia|
|2005||The Exonerated||Gary Gauger|
|2007||Marco Polo||Kublai Khan|
|2013||The Challenger||Chairman William Rogers|
|2017||A Very Merry Toy Store||Joe Haggarty|
|1977||Kojak||Peter Connor||Episode: "The Godson"|
|1977||Lanigan's Rabbi||Burton Tree||Episode: "Corpse of the Year"|
|1977||Police Woman||Burrows||Episode: "Shadow of Doubt"|
|1977||Lou Grant||Wilson||Episode: "Nazi"|
|1977||M*A*S*H||Ernie Connors||Episode: "Souvenirs"|
|1977||Lucan||Fisher||Episode: "Listen to the Heart Beat"|
|1977||The Fitzpatricks||Coach Hatfield||Episode: "Superman"|
|1978||Pearl||Sgt. Otto Chain||3 episodes|
|1978||Dallas||Luther Frick||Episode: "Winds of Vengeance"|
|1978||The Tony Randall Show||Brian Sr.||Episode: "Bobby and Brian"|
|1979||Big Shamus, Little Shamus||Arnie Sutter||2 episodes|
|1979||Knots Landing||James Cargill||Episode: "Chance of a Lifetime"|
|1981||Dynasty||D.A. Jake Dunham||5 episodes|
|1982||Star of the Family||Leslie Krebs||10 episodes|
|1984||Cagney and Lacey||Michael MacGruder||Episode: "The Bounty Hunter"|
|1984||Hunter||Dr. Bolin||Episode: "Hunter"|
|1985||Evergreen||Matthew Malone||3 episodes|
|1985||The Last Place on Earth||Frederick Cook||2 episodes|
|1985||Tall Tales & Legends||Buffalo Bill||Episode: "Annie Oakley"|
|1987||Miami Vice||Reverend Billy Bob Proverb||Episode: "Amen...Send Money"|
|1987||Faerie Tale Theatre||King Neptune (Narrator) (voice)||Episode: "The Little Mermaid"|
|1994||Birdland||Dr. Brian McKenzie||4 episodes|
|1996||Dead Man's Walk||Major Chvallie||2 episodes|
|1996||Nostromo||Joshua C. Holyrod||4 episodes|
|1998–2003||Just Shoot Me||Red Finch||4 episodes|
|2001||The Fighting Fitzgeralds||Fitzgerald||10 episodes|
|2005||The West Wing||Senator Rafe Framingham||Episode: "Ninety Miles Away"|
|2006||The 4400||Mitch Baldwin||Episode: "Blink"|
|2007||Law and Order: Special Victims Unit||Judson||Episode: "Scheherezade"|
|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 Big C||Mr. Tolkey||Episode: "The Finale"|
|2015||Public Morals||Joe Patton||8 episodes|
|2016–2018||The Blacklist||Dom||4 episodes|
|2017||Hap and Leonard||Sheriff Valentine Otis||6 episodes|
Awards and nominations
- "Person Details for Brian Manion Dennehy, "United States Public Records, 1970-2009" — FamilySearch.org".
- Dennehy, Michael. "Grateful that my parents came to America". NorthJersey.com.
- "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.
- Guzmán, Rafer (February 14, 2013). "Brian Dennehy returns to Long Island". Newsday. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
- "Brian Dennehy '60 - cover story".
- "Exclusive: Brian Dennehy Lands "Meaty" Sitcom Role". TV Guide. 2008. Archived from the original on September 6, 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.
- "Theater Hall of Fame Ceremony, Honoring Linda Lavin, Brian Dennehy, Michael Blakemore, Presented Jan. 24". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22.
- 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.
- "Serengeti on His Hip-Hop Metafiction Therapy Session 'Kenny Dennis EP'". Spin. 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2017-08-11.
- 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.
- "Where Are They Now? TNG Guest Star Elizabeth Dennehy". StarTrek.com. July 10, 2012. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
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