Brian Dennehy, the hardworking, blue-collar, chin-in-your face authority figure just passed away, leaving a weighty and distinctive impression as one of the finest character actors of his generation.

He specialized in characters with design defects, but was able to make those figures sympathetic and appealing. In First Blood, his vanity as Police crusader Teasle just wouldn’t let him give up the ill-conceived chase, but you could understand why he couldn’t help himself. As Don the easy-to-talk-to, attentive bartender, he propped up a sagging Dudley at just the right time with some candid conversation and compliments. As for Silverado, he made the perfect, crooked Sheriff Cobb, who weilded an endearing smile more obviously than a deadly gun. And in his finest role, he starred again with Bo Derek as the fun-loving, charismatic Big Tom .. a man with an admirable zest for life who bit off more than he could chew.

Thanks for the memories, Big Brian.

Rough and gruff Lt. Leo McCarthy– FX and FX2

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