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Brian Dennehy obituary: A giant of American theatre who stayed loyal to his Irish heritage

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Brian Dennehy obituary: A giant of American theatre who stayed loyal to his Irish heritage
On screen, tireless actor ranged from Rambo to Romeo + Juliet, with plenty of trips to old country
Fri, Apr 17, 2020, 15:40
Died: April 15th, 2020
Brian Dennehy, who has died in Connecticut at 81, stayed loyal to his Irish heritage without admitting sentimentality or cheap romanticism.
Speaking to this newspaper in 2011, as he prepared to play the Bull McCabe in John B Keane’s immortal The Field, the tireless performer – a “character actor” on film, a towering lead on the stage –
explained how his grandfather, who emigrated in the 1890s, “hated being reminded of Ireland and hated everything Irish”. His dad swung in the other direction, and Brian seemed to strike a happy balance. “My own father, he became a typical Irish-American, a typical sentimentalist,” he said. “Me, third generation, I fell in love with Ireland when I first visited, but I am no idealist; I know the good and the bad points – the joy and the craziness.”

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