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Dennehy in July 2009
|Born||Brian Manion Dennehy
July 9, 1938
Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.
|Years active||1977 – present|
|Spouse(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 the antagonistic Sheriff Will Teasle in First Blood (1982). He has had roles in numerous films including Gorky Park, Silverado, Cocoon, F/X, Romeo + Juliet, and Knight of Cups.
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) and F/X2: The Deadly Art of Illusion (1991).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, 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 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 New York City.
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 in 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.
He has been married twice and has five children including the actress Elizabeth Dennehy.
|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||Blue Heat||Frank Daly|
|1990||Presumed Innocent||Raymond Horgan||1991|
|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|
|1977||Kojak||Peter Connor||Episode: "The Godson"|
|1977||Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye||Longshoreman||Television movie|
|1977||Lanigan's Rabbi||Burton Tree||Episode: "Corpse of the Year"|
|1977||It Happened at Lakewood Manor||Fire Chief||Television movie|
|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||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|
|1978||The Tony Randall Show||Brian Sr.||Episode: "Bobby and Brian"|
|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|
|1979||Knots Landing||James Cargill||Episode: "Chance of a Lifetime"|
|1980||The Seduction of Miss Leona||Bliss Dawson||Television movie|
|1981||Dynasty||D.A. 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 (Pigs vs. Freaks)||Sgt. Cheever||Television movie|
|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"|
|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"|
|1987||Faerie Tale Theatre||King Neptune (Narrator) (voice)||Episode: "The Little Mermaid"|
|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|
|1989||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||Warden of Red Rock||Sheriff Church||Television movie|
|2001||The Fighting Fitzgeralds||Fitzgerald||10 episodes|
|2002||A Season on the Brink||Bobby Knight||Television movie|
|2003||The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron||Mr. Blue||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"|
|2006||The 4400||Mitch Baldwin||season 3 episode 8|
|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"|
|2015||Public Morals||Joe Patton||7 episodes|
|2016||The Blacklist||Dom||Episode: "The Artax Network"|
|2017||Hap and Leonard||Sheriff Valentine Otis||6 episodes|
|2017||A Very Merry Toy Store||Joe Haggarty||Television Movie|
|1990||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||A Killing in a Small Town||Nominated|
|1992||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||The Burden of Proof||Nominated|
|1992||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||To Catch a Killer||Nominated|
|1993||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||Murder in the Heartland||Nominated|
|1994||CableACE Awards||Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||Foreign Affairs||Won|
|1997||Satellite Awards||Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||A Season of Purgatory||Nominated|
|1999||Drama Desk Awards||Outstanding Actor in a Play||Death of a Salesman||Won|
|1999||Satellite Awards||Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Thanks of a Grateful Nation||Nominated|
|1999||Tony Awards||Best Actor in a Play||Death of a Salesman||Won|
|2000||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||Death of a Salesman||Nominated|
|2001||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film||Death of a Salesman||Won|
|2001||Producers Guild Awards||Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television||Death of a Salesman||Won|
|2001||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie||Death of a Salesman||Won|
|2003||Drama Desk Awards||Outstanding Actor in a Play||Long Day's Journey Into Night||Nominated|
|2003||Tony Awards||Best Actor in a Play||Long Day's Journey Into Night||Won|
|2005||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||Our Fathers||Nominated|
|2005||Satellite Awards||Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Our Fathers||Nominated|
I come from an Irish Catholic family,...
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