Brad William Henke Dies: Brad William Henke, an ex-NFL player who went on to star in films like Pacific Rim and World Trade Center and TV shows like Orange is the New Black, Justified, and Lost, has died. He was 56.
On November 29, it was reported that Henke had died peacefully in his sleep; however, the circumstances surrounding his death were not made public.
Henke, who was born on April 10, 1966, in Columbus, New Brunswick, and grew up in Littleton, Colorado, is a former team captain for the University of Arizona football team and a student writer for the school’s academic honor roll. The New York Giants picked him up in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft. Later in life, he joined the Denver Broncos defensive line and played in Super Bowl XXIV.
When injuries forced him to give up playing in 1994, Henke moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a coach. What started as an open call for “big guys” to appear in a commercial quickly blossomed into a brand-new line of work. He began landing guest spots on shows like ER and Chicago Hope and continued to work steadily up until this year, racking up close to 100 credits along the way.
The actor co-starred with Nikki Cox and Sam Trammell in the Showtime road trip drama Going to California, which ran for only one season. That part was the actor’s first major recurring one.
In the early 2000s, Henke appeared in numerous films and numerous guest-starring roles on television shows like CSI, Crossing Jordan, and Judging Amy.
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He had roles in The Assassination of Richard Nixon, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Must Love Dogs, The Zodiac, North Country, World Trade Center, and Hollywoodland before being cast as Tony Tucci on Showtime’s Dexter, a murder suspect turned near-victim who appeared in four episodes.
Brad William Henke Making It As An Actor
In Orange Is the New Black, a Showtime series created by Jenji Kohan, Henke plays Desi Piscatella, a gay corrections officer at Litchfield Federal Penitentiary.
Over the course of three years (2016–2018), he appeared in over twenty episodes, and in 2017, he and his co-stars won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. After that year’s success, the cast was nominated for another award the following year.
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Henke also appeared in the 2020 season two of Discovery’s Manhunt as Big John and the 2020 and 2021 seasons of The Stand on CBS All Access as Tom Cullen. Shows like Law & Order: SVU, films like Block Party and Run & Gun, both set to release in 2022, and other recent works are all included.
His mother Tammy, sister Annette, wife Sonja, stepson Aaden, stepson Leasa, granddaughter Amirah, and countless other friends, performers, and students will miss him greatly. His father, Bill, whom he named his business after, predeceased him.
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