July 9, 1938 – April 15, 2020
Bridgeport, Connecticut
81 years old

I can get a hell of a good look at a T-Bone steak by sticking my head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take the butcher’s word for it.

— Big Tom Callahan (Brian Dennehy) in “Tommy Boy”

To me, he will forever be Chris Farley’s father in the film “Tommy Boy.” He’s “Big Tom,” the man that Farley’s character looks up to and the one that leaves you devastated when he passes away. In 1995, I would have been eight-years-old, so the thought of a prominent figure in your life dying would have hit so much harder back then. Fast-forward twenty-five years, and we’ve lost the man for real, and it still hits just as hard. Although the Oscars would elude him, he did win the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe award for his leading performance in the television movie version of “Death of a Salesman” in 2000. I will always remember the last thing I saw him in. He played Del, a Korean War vet, who befriends a young Korean boy who moves in next door in the Spirit Award-nominated film “Driveways.” What I remember most is that I was sure Dennehy’s character was going to be this two-dimensional, crotchety neighbor. A “get off my lawn” type. But what surprised me was how endearing Dennehy made the character, to the point where I ended up loving the film. Along with five children, Brian Dennehy leaves behind a five-decade-long career in television, stage, and film.


Big Tom Callahan in “Tommy Boy” (1995)


Del in “Driveways” (2019)


Voice of Django, Remy the rat’s father, in Pixar’s “Ratatouille” (2007)


Golden Globe win for role in “Death of a Salesman” (2000)


1977Looking for Mr. GoodbarSurgeon
1977Semi-ToughT.J. Lambert
1978F.I.S.T.Frank Vasco
1978Foul PlayFergie
1979Butch and Sundance: The Early DaysO.C. Hanks
197910Don the Bartender
1980Little Miss MarkerHerbie
1982Split ImageKevin Stetson
1982First BloodSheriff Will Teasle
1983Never Cry WolfRose Little
1983Gorky ParkWilliam Kirwill
1984Finders KeepersMayor Frizzoli
1984The River RatDoc Cole
1985SilveradoSheriff Cobb
1985Twice in a LifetimeNick
1986F/XLt. Leo McCarthy
1986The Check Is in the MailRichard Jackson
1986Legal EaglesC.J. Cavanaugh
1987The Belly of an ArchitectStourley Kracklite
1987Best SellerLt. Dennis Meechum
1988The Man from Snowy River IIHarrison
1988Miles from HomeFrank Roberts, Sr.
1988Cocoon: The ReturnWalter (uncredited)
1989Seven MinutesWagner
1990Blue HeatFrank Daly
1990Presumed InnocentRaymond Horgan
1991F/X2Leo McCarthy
1992GladiatorJimmy Horn
1994Jackaboy BlueGuggles McMillian
1995Tommy BoyBig Tom Callahan II
1995The Stars Fell on HenriettaBig Dave McDermot
1996Romeo + JulietTed Montague
1999Out of the ColdDavid Bards
1999Silicon TowersTom Warner
2000Dish DogsFrost
2001Summer CatchJohn Schiffner
2002Stolen SummerFather Kelly
2002Code Yellow: Hospital at Ground ZeroNarrator (voice)
2002Drawing First Blood (short)Himself
2004She Hate MeChairman Billy Church
2005Assault on Precinct 13Jasper O’Shea
2005Tommy Boy: Behind the Laughter (short)Himself
200510th and WolfAgent Horvath
2006Everyone’s HeroBabe Ruth (voice)
2006The Ultimate GiftGus
2007RatatouilleDjango (voice)
2007Welcome to ParadiseBobby Brown
2007War Eagle, ArkansasPop
2008Cat CityHarold Vogessor
2008Righteous KillLt. Hingus
2010Every DayErnie
2010Meet Monica VelourPop Pop
2010The Next Three DaysGeorge Brennan
2010AllegedClarence Darrow
2011The Big YearRaymond Harris
2012Twelfth NightSir Toby Belch
2013The ChallengerChairman William Rogers
2015Knight of CupsJoseph
2018The SeagullSorin
2018TagMr. Cilliano (uncredited)
2018The Song of Sway LakeHal Sway
2019Master Maggie (short)Himself
20193 Days With DadBob Mills
2020Son of the SouthGrandfather
Long Day Journey
Brian Dennehy and Sylvester Stallone in “First Blood” (1982)


1977BumpersErnie Stapp
1977Johnny, We Hardly Knew YeLongshoreman
1977It Happened at Lakewood ManorFire Chief
1978A Real American HeroBuford Pusser
1978Ruby and OswaldGeorge Paulsen
1978A Death in CanaanBarney Parsons
1979The Jericho MileDr. D
1979Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil StoryMr. O’Neil
1980A Rumor of WarSgt. Ned Coleman
1980The Seduction of Miss LeonaBliss Dawson
1981SkokieChief Arthur Buchanan
1981Fly Away HomeTim Arnold
1983I Take These MenPhil Zakarian
1983Blood FeudEdward Grady Partin
1984Off Sides (Pigs vs. Freaks)Sgt. Cheever
1986Acceptable RisksDon Sheppard
1987The Lion of AfricaSam Marsh
1988A Father’s RevengePaul Hobart
1989Day OneGeneral Leslie Groves
1989Perfect WitnessJames Falcon
1989Pride and Extreme PrejudiceBruno Morenz
1990A Killing in a Small TownEd Reivers
1990Rising SonGus Robinson
1991In Broad DaylightLen Rowan
1992The Diamond FleeceLt. Merritt Outlaw
1992Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser StoryJackie Presser
1992To Catch a KillerJohn Wayne Gacy
1992The Burden of ProofDixon Hartnell
1992Deadly MatrimonySgt. Jack Reed
1993Foreign AffairsChuck Mumpson
1993Prophet of Evil: The Ervil LeBaron StoryErvil LeBaron
1993Final AppealPerry Sundquist
1993Jack Reed: Badge of HonorJack Reed
1993Murder in the HeartlandJohn McCarthur
1994Leave of AbsenceSam
1994Midnight MovieJames Boyce
1994Jack Reed: A Search for JusticeJack Reed
1995Jack Reed: One of Our OwnJack Reed
1995Shadow of a DoubtCharlie Sloan
1996Jack Reed: A Killer Among UsJack Reed
1996Jack Reed: Death and VengeanceJack Reed
1996A Season in PurgatoryGerald Bradley
1996Undue InfluencePaul Madriani
1997Indefensible: The Truth About Edward BranniganEddie Brannigan
1998Voyage of TerrorU.S. President
1998Thanks of a Grateful NationSenator Riegle
1999NetforceLowell Davidson
1999SirensLt. Denby
1999Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris DukeLouis Bromfield
2000Fail SafeGen. Bogan
2000Death of a SalesmanWilly Loman
2001Warden of Red RockSheriff Church
2001Three Blind MiceMatthew Hope
2002A Season on the BrinkBobby Knight
2003The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About EnronMr. Blue
2003The Roman Spring of Mrs. StoneTom Stone
2004Category 6: Day of DestructionAndy Goodman
2005Our FathersFather Dominic Spagnolia
2005The ExoneratedGary Gauger
2007Marco PoloKublai Khan
2013The ChallengerChairman William Rogers
2015The Ultimate LegacyGus Caldwell
2017A Very Merry Toy StoreJoe Haggarty
Brian Dennehy in reoccurring role Dominic Wilkinson on “The Blacklist”


1977KojakPeter ConnorEpisode: “The Godson”
1977SerpicoJodyEpisode: “Sanctuary”
1977Lanigan’s RabbiBurton TreeEpisode: “Corpse of the Year”
1977Police WomanBurrowsEpisode: “Shadow of Doubt”
1977Lou GrantWilsonEpisode: “Nazi”
1977M*A*S*HM.P. Sergeant Ernie ConnorsEpisode: “Souvenirs”
1977LucanFisherEpisode: “Listen to the Heart Beat”
1977The FitzpatricksCoach HatfieldEpisode: “Superman”
1978PearlSgt. Otto Chain3 Episodes
1978DallasLuther FrickEpisode: “Winds of Vengeance”
1978The Tony Randall ShowBrian Sr.Episode: “Bobby and Brian”
1979Big Shamus, Little ShamusArnie Sutter2 Episodes
1979Knots LandingJames CargillEpisode: “Chance of a Lifetime”
1981DynastyD.A. Jake Dunham5 Episodes
1981DarkroomRolandEpisode: “Make-Up”
1982Star of the FamilyLeslie Krebs10 Episodes
1984Cagney & LaceyMichael MacGruderEpisode: “The Bounty Hunter”
1984HunterDr. BolinEpisode: “Hunter”
1985EvergreenMatthew Malone3 Episodes
1985The Last Place on EarthFrederick Cook2 Episodes
1985Tall Tales & LegendsBuffalo BillEpisode: “Annie Oakley”
1987Miami ViceReverend Billy Bob ProverbEpisode: “Amen…Send Money”
1987Faerie Tale TheatreKing Neptune (Voice)Episode: “The Little Mermaid”
1994BirdlandDr. Brian McKenzie4 Episodes
1996Dead Man’s WalkMajor Chvallie2 Episodes
1996NostromoJoshua C. Holyrod4 Episodes
1998–2003Just Shoot MeRed Finch4 Episodes
2001The Fighting FitzgeraldsFitzgerald10 Episodes
2005The West WingSenator Rafe FramhagenEpisode: “Ninety Miles Away”
2006The 4400Mitch BaldwinEpisode: “Blink”
2007Law and Order: Special Victims UnitJudson TierneyEpisode: “Scheherezade”
2007Masters of Science FictionBedzykEpisode: “The Discarded”
200830 RockMickey JEpisode: “Sandwich Day”
2009Rules of EngagementRoyEpisode: “Dad’s Visit”
2010Rizzoli & IslesDetective Kenny LeahyEpisode: “Boston Strangler Redux”
2012The Good WifeBucky Stabler2 Episodes
2013The Big CMr. Tolkey
2015Public MoralsJoe Patton8 Episodes
2016–2019The BlacklistDominic Wilkinson8 Episodes
2017Hap and LeonardSheriff Valentine Otis6 Episodes

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