Imposing, barrel-chested and now silver-haired Brian Dennehy is a prolific US actor, well respected on both screen and stage for the best part of 25 years. He was born in July 1938 in Bridgeport, CT, and attended Columbia University in New York City on a football scholarship.
Imposing, barrel-chested and now silver-haired Brian Dennehy is a prolific US actor, well respected on both screen and stage for the best part of 25 years. He was born in July 1938 in Bridgeport, CT, and attended Columbia University in New York City on a football scholarship. He majored in history, before moving on to Yale to study dramatic arts. He first appeared in minor screen roles in such fare as Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), Semi-Tough (1977) and Foul Play (1978) and proved popular with casting directors, leading to regular work. However, he really got himself noticed by movie audiences in the box-office hit First Blood (1982) as the bigoted sheriff determined to run Vietnam veteran John Rambo (played by Sylvester Stallone) out of his town. Dennehy quickly escalated to stronger supporting or co-starring roles in films including the Cold War thriller Gorky Park (1983), as a benevolent alien in Cocoon (1985), a corrupt sheriff in the western Silverado (1985), a tough but smart cop in F/X (1986) and a cop-turned-writer alongside hit man James Woods in Best Seller (1987). In 1987, Dennehy turned in one of his finest performances as cancer-ridden architect Stourley Kracklite in Peter Greenaways superb The Belly of an Architect (1987), for which he won the Best Actor Award at the 1987 Chicago Film Festival. More strong performances followed. He reprised prior roles for Cocoon: The Return (1988) and F/X2 (1991), and turned in gripping performances in three made-for-TV films: a sadistic small-town bully who gets his grisly comeuppance in In Broad Daylight (1991), real-life serial killer John Wayne Gacy in the chilling To Catch a Killer (1992) and a corrupt union boss in Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story (1992). In 1993, Dennehy appeared in the role of police Sgt. Jack Reed in the telemovie Jack Reed: Badge of Honor (1993), and reprised the role in four sequels, which saw him for the first time become involved in co-producing, directing and writing screen productions!