Earlier today brought the tragic news that character actor Brian Dennehy had died. The 81-year-old character passed away of natural causes last night. Film fans know Dennehy best from his work in a wide range of different movies but especially the comedy Tommy Boy, the sci-fi drama Cocoon, and the war thriller First Blood. Dennehy's co-star from the movie, Rambo himself, Sylvester Stallone has taken to Instagram to pay tribute to the late actor, saying: "The great actor Brian Dennehy has passed away. He simply was A brilliant performer ... He also was a Vietnam vet that helped me very much building the character of RAMBO The world has lost a great artist."
Dennehy's daughter Elizabeth confirmed the actor's death on Twitter, writing: "It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes, not Covid-related. 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."
Reflecting on his work in First Blood in a 2018 interview, Dennehy revealed an interesting anecdote about the movie, recalling where Stallone's career was before they made the film and how it gave him a revitalization he needed.
"The funny thing about First Blood is—people forget this now—but Stallone, who had been a sensation of course in Rocky, his career had begun to dim a little bit when we did First Blood," Dennehy preivously told The AV Club. "The original script, which I read and was working on, had Stallone getting killed at the end of the picture. His character, Rambo—I can’t even remember how he died in it...About three weeks into the shoot, they had one of these film markets in L.A. The producers and the director and everybody flew down to L.A. for the weekend and showed a piece of the film. The response, of course, was sensational, both to what Ted directed and what Stallone had done with the character. They came back and said, 'By the way, you’re not dying. We’re going to keep you alive,' because they were already thinking in terms of the sequel, which turned into, what? Five sequels? All of the sudden, they realized what Stallone was. He was so loved by the audience that you can put him in the same parts a little bit later."
The interview that the above quote hails from was conducted about 18 months ago, but offers a lot of great insight into the far reaches of Dennehy's career where he touches on appearing in the TV series Kojak and even offered high praise for Saoirse Ronan after they worked together on The Seagull.
Dennehy is survived by his wife Jennifer Arnott and five children, Elizabeth, Cormack, Kathleen, Deirdre, and Sarah.