Orange is the New Black actor Brad William Henke dead aged 56 1 month ago

Orange is the New Black actor Brad William Henke dead aged 56

"Brad was an incredibly kind man of joyous energy."

Brad William Henke, a former pro football player who went on to star in Orange Is The New Black, had died aged 56.

Advertisement

His manager, Matt DelPiano, confirmed to US publications that the actor died in his sleep on Tuesday (29 November).

Details on the cause of death were not given.

“Brad was an incredibly kind man of joyous energy. A very talented actor, he loved being a part of this community … and we loved him back. Our thoughts are with his wife and family," DelPiano's statement read.

Henke’s most famous role came was as gay corrections officer Desi Piscatella in the Netflix hit comedy-drama series Orange is the New Black.

Advertisement

The part earned him and the cast a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 2016.

The role, the New York Post noted, also gained him status as a sex symbol in the bear community - a sub-section of the gay community that loves a larger and hairier man.

Henke embraced the recognition, telling Out in 2016: “I mean, I feel honored. I feel awesome. It’s such a compliment. Who wouldn’t want people to find them attractive?

"Piscatella is kind of a bad character in some ways but the response that I’ve gotten is that they like the fact that he’s real.”

Advertisement

Henke, who was born in Columbus, Nebraska, played college football at the University of Arizona and was drafted by the New York Giants in 1989.

He later played on the defensive line for the Denver Broncos, including at 1990’s Super Bowl XXIV against that year’s winner, the San Francisco 49ers.

Henke retired in 1994 due to an injury and moved to LA to pursue coaching, but became an actor instead.

Henke appeared in several major movies during his career, including Bright, Fury, Hollywoodland, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Must Love Dogs, North Country, Pacific Rim, Split, The Assassination of Richard Nixon and World Trade Center.

Advertisement

He also recently played the character of Tom Cullen in a TV adaptation of Stephen King novel The Stand and had recurring roles on popular shows like Dexter, Justified and Lost.