Actor Brian Dennehy, who played high school football, passes away

Brian Dennehy
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Award-winning actor Brian Dennehy passed away Wednesday in Connecticut. Dennehy, who won a Tony for his performances in Death of a Salesman, was a very good high school football player.

Dennehy was a two-way lineman at Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York.

In 2017, High School Football America published a story that was an excerpt of a story that appeared on Unfortunately, that story is no longer available online, but below is what I wrote.

2017 Brian Dennehy Story

Golden Globe and Tony Award-winning actor Brian Dennehy believes that playing high school football at Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York played a big role in his life on television, film and on Broadway.

In a recently published story on, a part of the National Football Foundation, Dennehy talks about being a two-way player on Chaminade’s offensive and defensive lines, which led him into his career field of acting.  Dennehy credits his coach Chris Sweeny with seeing beyond his talents on the football field.  Sweeny was Chaminade’s drama teacher.

Dennehy told, “Chris Sweeny was a huge influence in my life,” he said. “He was a man of extensive interest. He had been in the Army [during the Korean War] and, as it turned out, he loved the theater. I remember he had a wonderful, dramatic voice. At this private, Catholic high school, he was a different kind of influence on all of us.”

Dennehy was a good enough player to start at Columbia University in New York City.  He also received an offer from the Green Bay Packers to attend a summer camp.

As far as how football has helped him in life?

Dennehy said, “The thing about football, aside from all the aches and pains that it gave me, was the sense that life is tough and hard and really painful, but you can deal with it.”

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.