Brad William Henke, a former NFL player who pursued acting and appeared in TV series including Orange Is The New Black, Justification and Get lost and movies like this Pacific Rim and World Trade Center, he is dead. He was fifty-six years old. Her family said Henke died in her sleep on November 29, but no cause was given.
Born on April 10, 1966, in Columbus, NB, and raised in Littleton, CO, Henke played college football at the University of Arizona, where he was a team captain and an All-Academic letterman. Drafted by the New York Giants in 1989, he went on to play on the defensive line for the Denver Broncos and appeared in Super Bowl XXIV.
After an injury forced him to retire in 1994, Henke moved to Los Angeles to pursue coaching. An open call for “big men” to do business soon led to a new job. He started taking guest spots on TV like ER, Chicago Hope, Silk Stockings, Nash Bridges and Arli$$ and continued to work continuously until this year, collecting 100 loans.
The actor landed his first major recurring role on the 2000-02 WB Network comedy Nikki, and Nikki Cox, and the lead opposite Sam Trammell in Showtime’s road-trip dramedy. To California, which lasted one season.
As well as other guest works there are series including CSI, Crossing the Jordan and Judging Amy, Henke had small shares in a number of properties during the early 2000s. He appeared inside The Assassination of Richard Nixon, Me and You and Everyone We Know, We Gotta Love Dogs, The Zodiac, The North Country, The World Trade Center. and Vadivelu Comedy Hollywoodland before it aired on Showtime’s Dexter as Tony Tucci, the murderer-turned-near-victim repeated in four episodes.
Henke earned his second all-time performance on the ABC short-lived show in 2007 October Road.
After that, he visited on series like Law & Order, Life on Mars and CSI: Miami before it aired on ABC’s Get lost like Bram, it recurred for half-a-dozen episodes in 2009-10. Henke went on to play Coover Bennett in seven episodes of FX’s Season 2 Justification and did an arc on Fox’s 2011 Shawn Ryan drama The Chicago Code.
He also appeared in the episode Choke, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and shared the Special Jury Prize for its inclusion. Henke also did mid-2010s arcs on FX’s The Bridge and Prime Video Sneaky Pete. He then struck perhaps his most famous work.
Henke was cast in Jenji Kohan’s Showtime series Orange Is The New Black like Desi Piscatella, a gay corrections officer at Litchfield Federal Penitentiary. He appeared in more than a dozen episodes from 2016-18 and shared the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 2017. The actor was nominated again the following year.
Henke also returned as Big John in Discovery’s second season Manhunt in 2020 and as Tom Cullen in CBS All Access’ The Stand in 2020-21. Some of his latest credits include Law & Order: SVU and 2022 movies Block Party and Run & Gun.
Henke is survived by his mother, Tammy; his sister, Annette; his wife, Sonja; stepson Aaden; stepdaughter Leasa; and niece Amirah, hundreds of friends, other players, and students. He was preceded in death by his father, Bill, who paid tribute with his work title.