Brian Dennehy, Veteran Stage and Screen Actor, Dies Aged 81

We thank Gena, Maurice and Con for alerting us to this very sad news of the passing to his Eternal Reward of Gentleman supreme who was so very proud of his Millstreet roots – Brian Dennehy, R.I.P. (His grandfather was Denis Dennehy, born in 1888 at Green’s Lane, and later of Church Street, across from the Star Ballroom, and emigrated in 1906).  When Brian arrived in Millstreet in the early 1990s Noel C. Duggan arranged a magnificent get together with all of Brian’s Millstreet relatives.   Brian invited us later to his performance of Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh” at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre where in the Theatre Bar after the Show he accorded us a royal welcome and when he met Seán Cronin (to whom he was related) for the very first time he could not believe the close family resemblance he witnessed.   Brian and members of his wonderful Family stayed at Mallow Castle when he visited Millstreet for that complete Bank Holiday Monday in the early 1990s and wrote in Millstreet Museum’s Visitors Book having spent some 90 minutes there – “The Wild Geese have returned!”  We, here in Millstreet, extend heartfelt sympathy to the Dennehy Family at this very sad time.   Brian was always so very welcoming, approachable, supremely talented …. and so very proud of his Millstreet roots.   We were privileged to have known Brian.  May he rest in peace.   Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.  (S.R.) Sincere thanks to Michael for lots of additional material adding greatly to our Tribute to Brian.

Veteran actor Brian Dennehy, known for roles on stage and on screen, has died aged 81.

“It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes, not Covid-related,” his daughter Elizabeth tweeted. “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 was known on the big screen for roles in films such as Cocoon, Presumed Innocent, Tommy Boy, Romeo + Juliet and Gorky Park. His breakthrough role was opposite Sylvester Stallone in First Blood.

He was also a celebrated stage presence, winning two Tony awards for Death of a Salesman in 1999 and Long Day’s Journey Into Night in 2003. Dennehy also won a Golden Globe for the miniseries of Death of a Salesman. He was long associated with the Goodman Theatre in Chicago for his many performances in adapted works of Eugene O’Neill. His last appearance on stage was in 2016’s White Rabbit Red Rabbit.

“Theatre is something that I’ve always enjoyed and that I care about,” Dennehy said in 2016. “But as you get older, it is harder and harder to do, but it’s always worthwhile.”

One of Brian’s most famous films.

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