‘Tommy Boy’ actor Brian Dennehy dead at 81; won Tony for ‘Death of a Salesman’

‘Tommy Boy’ actor Brian Dennehy dead at 81; won Tony for ‘Death of a Salesman’

Brian Dennehy, the veteran actor of stage and screen, died on Wednesday, his daughter Elizabeth said. He was 81.

“It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes, not Covid-related,” Elizabeth wrote on Twitter. “Larger than life, generous to a fault, a proud and devoted father and grandfather, he will be missed by his wife Jennifer, family and many friends.”

Dennehy, who was born in Bridgeport, Conn., was a fixture at the movies in the 1980s and ’90s, appearing in such films as “First Blood,” “Tommy Boy” and “Cocoon.” Known for his big, tough-guy exterior, he also drew a following for playing Chicago detective Jack Reed in five TV movies.

Brian Dennehy and Chris Farley in 1995's "Tommy Boy."
Brian Dennehy and Chris Farley in 1995’s “Tommy Boy.”©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Col

Although he continued to appear in movies all the way through the 2018 comedy “Tag,” in recent years he became better known as an acclaimed stage performer. He starred on Broadway in Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”in 2003 and Arthur Miller’s “Death of A Salesman” in 1999. He won the Best Actor Tony Award for both. He also appeared in “The Iceman Cometh” at BAM in 2015.

The actor with a good sense of humor caught up with The Post’s Cindy Adams in 2019.

“Truth is I haven’t got that kind of public appeal anymore anyhow. Most people think I’m dead 10 years,” Dennehy said. “I’m Irish. Don’t smoke. Maybe too much wine, but not like I used to, where I’d end up in strange company. Now, I drink just enough to make it to my own comfortable bed.”

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