Brad William Henke, Orange Is The New Black Star, Has Died Aged 56

The award-winning actor played prison guard Desi Piscatella in the award-winning Netflix drama.
Brad pictured in 2017
Brad pictured in 2017
Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images

Orange Is The New Black actor Brad William Henke has died at the age of 56.

Brad’s family confirmed to Deadline that the actor had died in his sleep on Tuesday. No cause of death was given.

Paying tribute in a statement issued to TMZ, his manager said: “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.”

Long before his acting career began, Brad actually played American football professionally for many years, most notably for the New York Giants and Denver Broncos.

For the latter, he even played at the Super Bowl in 1990, but was forced to retire from the sport four years later due to injuries.

Following this, he made the move into acting, initially appearing in shows like Chicago Hope and ER, as well as the film Space Jam.

His other big-screen credits included The Assassination Of Richard Nixon, Me And You And Everyone We Know, World Trade Center and Pacific Rim.

Brad William Henke in 2005, around the release of Me And You And Everyone We Know
Brad William Henke in 2005, around the release of Me And You And Everyone We Know
Fred Hayes via Getty Images

Brad went on to appear in a string of episodes of Lost, Dexter and October Road, before joining the cast of Netflix’s prison drama Orange Is The New Black in 2016.

He joined the show as the fearsome and corrupt maximum security prison guard Desi Piscatella, who was brought in to try and restore order at Litchfield, appearing in 26 episodes in total.

As part of the OINTB cast, Brad shared a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series with his co-stars in 2017, an award for which he and the cast were also nominated the following year.

Brad pictured during OINTB's fifth season
Brad pictured during OINTB's fifth season
Jojo Whilden/Netflix

Earlier this year, Brad’s final TV appearance, in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, aired in the US.

His final acting credit was in the upcoming thriller The Ray, which will be released posthumously next year.

Deadline reported that Brad is survived by his his mother, Tammy, his sister, Annette, his wife, Sonja, stepson Aaden, stepdaughter Leasa and grandchild Amirah.


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