New York Post - Brian Dennehy, the veteran actor of stage and screen, died on Wednesday, his daughter Elizabeth said. He was 81.
Dennehy, who was born in Bridgeport, Conn., was a fixture at the movies in the 1980s and ’90s, appearing in such films as “First Blood,” “Tommy Boy” and “Cocoon.” Known for his big, tough-guy exterior, he also drew a following for playing Chicago detective Jack Reed in five TV movies.
Not joking when I say Big Tom's death was the most unsettling on screen death of my youth and that includes Mufasa and Ashley Judd in Simon Birch. I don't care what anyone says - NOBODY saw it coming when he croked and it sucked. Completely changed the whole dynamic of Tommy overnight and who honestly could expect otherwise. Big Tom Callahan is arguably the greatest fictional bullshitters and business leaders of our time.
Obviously it then lead to one of the great journey-based epics of 90's based cinema, so that was great. But deep down every time you watch Tommy Boy you desperately hope Big Tom doesn't get that heart attack. 30 years later and it still sucks in real time. As an actor I'm sure that's an immense compliment - the audience literally never wants to see you die even though we know its coming.
Also of extreme significance - Dennehy ran back Death Of A Salesman on Broadway 274 times, about 3x more than anyone in the history of one of the greatest plays of the 20th century. So even without the landmark performance alongside Chris Farley, we're still talking about a legend. Bet you didn't know that.
RIP to Brian Dennehy.
Big Tom Callahan, Callahan Auto Parts, will be remembered forever.