Brian Dennehy (BBC)
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WASHINGTON – United States actor Brian Dennehy, whose chiselled jaw and towering figure featured in some 40 films, has died at the age of 81, of natural causes in Connecticut.
On screen he played macho roles like the sheriff who jails Rambo in First Blood and portrayed the serial killer John Wayne Gacy in To Catch A Killer.
His work brought him a Golden Globe and six Emmy nominations.
But Dennehy was equally at home playing the classics on stage, and won two Tony Awards.
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda paid tribute to the man on Twitter, saying: "Was lucky enough to see Brian Dennehy twice on stage, masterful in Love Letters, and monumentally heartbreaking in Death Of A Salesman. A colossus. What a loss."
Fellow American actor James Woods, who starred alongside him in Bestseller, mourned a "beloved friend and colleague", tweeting: "I've never laughed so hard as we did every day on the set or off."
Born on 9 July 1938 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, he took up acting at the age of 14 in New York City where he studied at a high school in Brooklyn. He played the title role in a production of Macbeth.
A scholarship at Columbia University followed and then five years of service in the US Marines.
Physically, Dennehy was an imposing man, standing at 6ft 3in (1.9m). To fund his acting career in the 1960s he worked as a truck driver, a bartender and a salesman.
"I had to make a life inside those jobs, not just pretend," he told The New York Times in 1989.
Dennehy broke into film in 1977 with Semi-Tough, which starred Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson. He was paid $10 000 a week for ten weeks' work and it "looked like it was all the money in the world", he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
Other films included Gorky Park and Legal Eagles.