Thursday, April 16, 2020

R.I.P. Brian Dennehy

Aged 81 years, of natural causes, at home with his family in his native CT. Actual Marine from '59-63 (which he later famously got caught padding into falsely claiming "Vietnam service", to which he never got close)*, and one of the few Hollywood stars to have earned degrees, the later an MFA in drama from Yale, before hitting the pavement to find roles. It took him about 8 years to start getting regular work in Hollywood, and he went back and forth from stage to screen.
After numerous television parts, his big break was as the villain in First Blood, above, followed by memorable parts in Cocoon, both F/X movies, and as the villain again in 1985's Silverado, the quintessential modern western. His stage work earned him two well-deserved Tony awards, including the performance of his career as Willie Lomax in a revival of Death Of A Salesman.
We got to meet Mr. Dennehy exactly once, working on a TV pilot for what became the short-lived Fighting Fitzgeralds, and are happy to say we got to thank him at that time for his career efforts, and wish him a well-deserved "Semper Fi", from one Marine to another. The best thing we can say about him is that we have no wild idea what his politics were (though service as a Marine before it was cool, a degree in history, five well-adjusted kids from 2 marriages, the later one lasting 32 years, as well as living in CT, and not Malibu or Beverly Hills, gives one a pretty good idea he didn't fit in well with the radical chic in Hollyweird).
Do as you like, but we know what's going to be playing on the video tonight:

And if you do likewise, we beseech you to watch a widescreen version, and not some pan-and-scan disaster, because the final showdown was shot with Lawrence Kasdan, God bless him, using every bit of the 70mm frame for the climactic duel, and low-quality TV edits always edit out the fact that like Han Solo, Dennehy's Sheriff Cobb reaches for his gun first.

G'bye, Cobb.

*{Most people guilty of Stolen Valor are unredeemed douches. We give Dennehy a pass for his confessed transgression, both because he actually served - just not in combat nor a war zone - and because he did so, amongst an industry where one may count the actual military veterans, anywhere but among the film crew, on one's thumbs. If you can name ten living and current A- or B-list actors who ever actually served ever, anywhere, you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din. I'll even spot you the first five: Sir Sean Connery served briefly in the Royal Navy; he's now 89. Michael Caine - Sir Maurice to his friends - was in actual combat in Korea with the Royal Fusiliers, and he's 87 years old. Sir Anthony Hopkins did his two years' service in the British Army from '58-60. He's now 80. Chuck Norris was in the Air Farce as a sky cop from '58-62, and he's 80. Tom Selleck joined the CA ANG from '67-73. He's now 75. See if you can spot a trend. Good luck finding five more like that.

BTW, fun Chuck Norris fact:
Chuck Norris was infected by COVID-19.
Chuck is fine, but the virus is now on life support.
You're welcome.}


The Mad Irishman said...

Don't like the guy but Adam Driver was a Marine.

Wayne said...

Brigadier General James Stewart.
Captain Glenn Miller.
Clark Gable.
Charles Bronson.
Charlton Heston.
Tony Bennett.
Ted “The Splendid Splinter” Williams.
Honorable Mention for service to veterans Gary Sinise.

Aesop said...

0 for 7. Bennett is still alive barely (93), but isn't an actor. The rest are dead. Perhaps you missed the word "living"...?

FredLewers said...

The common denominator is elderly... A few generations ago civic and military service was as common as grass. The current generations of Hollywood stars are vapid self serving narcissistic bubble dwelling parasites... A pox upon them and all their get!

Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

My Dad grew up cowboy. Pretty much would not watch any bs western made ofter the John Wayne era. He made exception and Silverado was the last western he watched. Cocoon was a great movie. Sheriff Teasle could have only been topped by Joe Don Baker.

Marty said...

Does Mat Best count, he was in that movie Range 15

Bee Ess said...

Rarely does a hollywood death make me go "aww, man...", but this one deserves it.
Aww, man...

Sarin said...

Harvey Keitel - USMC
Rob Riggle - USMCR
Dennis Franz - USA
Clint Eastwood - USA
Bill Cosby - USN
Morgan Freeman - USAF
Randy Couture - USA

That's all I can think of at the moment.

Mad Irishman's right about Adam Driver being in the Corps as well.

Phelps said...

Jesse Ventura.
James Earl Jones.
Robert Duval.
Drew Carey.

Making this list makes me miss sailor Charlie Murphy.

Jim said...

Steve McQueen and Lee Marvin were both Marines, Marvin was wounded in Korea.
Sorry, both dead, but excellent examples. Besides, Marines don't die, they just change duty stations.

johnnyrotten said...

Right. There's a lot of actor-veterans....dead ones anyway. How in the hell did it take him so long to 'make it'? He was such a good actor and his first big role was when he had gray hair? Doesn't seem right.
And Adam Driver is a Marine, not was. Or at least that's an Army vet's understanding of how the Marines work, eh? Still....Adam Driver? Never saw that coming.
I liked him in Logan Lucky; the family has watched that a dozen times and still laughs.

Mark said...

Isn't Clint Eastwood a vet?

James M Dakin said...

At least from what I've read of one of his autobiographies, Michael Caine was also the gentleman and never bragged or inflated his efforts in his service. Downplaying it, as was the fashion. That's class.

smoken said...

Wonderwoman was in the Israeli army. She's hot, if notso bright, so that should count.

lineman said...

I always liked him in the Man From Snowy River 2 if you haven't got a chance watch both 1&2...

Phelps said...

For Aesop (didn't see an email addy on the main page so dropping here) -- Dallas is sending out a daily report that includes daily testing and death updates by county and city of Dallas (it bleeds over into several neighboring counties, and there are lots of suburbs in the county, so the numbers are very different). It includes number of test done vs positives, and our daily use vs capacity numbers for beds, ICU beds, and vents. (FWIW, we've been in a consistent 50%/60%/30% area on that for a while.)

If that's something that you would like to have, send me an email address and I'll start forwarding them (and the backlog if you want). If not, no worries.

Wayne said...

@Aesop. Yeah I did miss living. Nice snark, dude.

They all served honorably which to people not stuck in middle school is the point.

Aesop said...

No snark, Wayne. Simple observation, and giving you the benefit of the doubt.
My mistake.
And yes, of course they served honorably.
And that ethic is as dead in Hollywood as they are.
Which to people who could read what I wrote was the actual point.

Sarin said...

Totally off topic, but thought it worth sharing since it's a subject that's come up here from time to time. Got the following link sent to me by a family member living in Big Sky Country.

Idea was half-baked, IMO, which contributed to it going over poorly. That plus the location and general mentality of the folks that live there. Change the venue to NYFC? That pig might have flown.

Wasn't aware that the CHICOMS were doing the GPS wristband thing. Kind of puts a damper on your thought process for identification, too easily demagogued at this point and with the GPS thing, too easily abused. Although, one could argue that our smartphones are just fancy wristbands.

Also just noticed the change. Hope it goes swimmingly.

Aesop said...

GPS is a China thing.
Not required for the idea to work.

We'll see how the change goes.
It only takes a couple mouseclicks to fix, either way.

Anonymous said...

My favorite Dennehy film is somewhat obscure NBC movie of the week called "In Broad Daylight". It's based on a true story and while the area is a couple hours drive away, I have connections and kin from the area going over a century back. Anyway, he plays the villain role to a T and even sorta looks like the guy he's portraying. People might feel differently but it's a feel good movie for me that makes me proud of my State, my People and our long history of the menfolk taking matters into our own hands when it's deemed necessary to protect our homes and families and neighbors.