Friday Open Thread: RIP Brian Dennehy, True-Crime Workhorse

That Dennehy was trending alongside Tommy Boy yesterday on Twitter baffled me…but then, I’m the horse’s ass who led the thread with this photo of Dennehy as John Wayne Gacy, in just one of the literal dozen true-crime properties he figured in. A chronological list of highlights:

  • 1978: A Death In Canaan; Ruby And Oswald (he’s neither)

  • 1990: A Killing In A Small Town (the ax murder in Wylie, TX; directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal)

  • 1991: In Broad Daylight (it’s based on the book and named the same thing, but for some reason Ken McElroy — as whom Dennehy is, IMO, perfectly cast — is called “Len Rowan” instead)

  • 1992: Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story and To Catch A Killer (Gacy)

  • 1993: Murder In The Heartland (Starkweather, not played by Dennehy) and Prophet Of Evil: The Ervil LeBaron Story (Mormon predator, played by Dennehy)

  • 1997: Indefensible: The Truth About Edward Brannigan (said truth: he assaulted Alice “Shadowcaster” Krige)

  • 2003: The Crooked E: The Shredded Truth About Enron

  • 2005: The Exonerated (this project seems like an If These Walls Could Talk-type project that spotlighted exonerees; Dennehy plays Gary Gauger)

  • 2010: Alleged (tangentially the Scopes monkey trial; Dennehy is Darrow)

Honorable mention to his turn on SVU during what I would consider that show’s golden age, Seasons 8-10.

What’s your favorite Dennehy, true crime or not? And will you be investigating any of these to honor his passing? Memories and recs welcome. — SDB