Brad William Henke, an NFL player who later received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his role as a gay law enforcement officer on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, has died. He was 56.
The former defense attorney “died peacefully in his sleep” on Tuesday, his agent Sheree Cohen said on Friday. No cause of death was given.
“Brad was such a wonderful, kind person and had a true passion for acting. Our thoughts are with his wife and family at this time,” Cohen said in a statement to The Times.
Henke, who has appeared in more than 40 films, was born in Columbus, Nebraska and grew up in Littleton, Colorado. Academic student journalist, said his agent. He turned pro in 1989 when drafted by the New York Giants. He later played for the Denver Broncos and made it to Super Bowl XXIV against the San Francisco 49ers, though his team was defeated 55-10 in the 1990 match-up.
Henke retired from the game in 1994 after repeated injuries, but quickly transitioned to an acting career after moving to LA to become a coach. Here he answered an open call for a commercial looking for “big boys”, then began working in theater and regularly booked work for several 1990s television series including “Chicago Hope”, “Silk Stalkings”, “Nash Bridges” and “HE”. He also appeared as a scavenger in the 1996 animated hybrid Space Jam.
The actor has had stints in drama series including ABC series October Road and Lost, FX’s Justified, Showtime’s Going to California and WB sitcom Nikki.
In 2000, he opened an acting studio in Los Angeles, where he is credited with guiding the careers of hundreds of actors.
“Always trying to help artists in trouble, Henke produced showcases, called agents for his students, and lent his acting skills to aspiring filmmakers in short films that became feature films, including ‘Short Term 12’ and ‘Willy’s Wonderland’.” said his agent.
His most notable role, however, was as Desi Piscatella in Netflix’s groundbreaking original comedy. In the last three seasons of the Emmy and SAG-winning comedy, Henke appeared in 26 episodes.
“Brad Henke was an incredibly kind man full of happy energy. As 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,” his manager Matt DelPiano wrote on Instagram on Thursday.
Henke is survived by his mother Tammy; his sister Annette; his wife Sonya; his stepson Aaden; stepdaughter, Leasa; and granddaughter Amirah.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-12-02/brad-william-henke-dead ‘Orange Is the New Black’ actor Brad William Henke dies