A Game of Thrones actor died shortly after filming his initial scenes for the show. JJ Murphy was cast to play Ser Denys Mallister, and he was set to be filming more scenes soon. Murphy died Friday at the age of 86.
The Belfast Telegraph shares that the Game of Thrones actor died after collapsing. He had yet to appear on-screen, as his scenes are for the upcoming fifth season of the hit HBO show. E! Online shares that the show’s executives will not recast the role.
JJ Murphy played a member of the Night’s Watch who was the commander of the Shadow Tower for three decades. Ser Denys Mallister was up for the role of Lord Commander. It has not been made clear what scenes had been shot or how the show will manage the storyline given the circumstances, other than to note they will not recast the role.
The show’s executive producers, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, released a statement praising Murphy saying that “He was a lovely man.” They add that he was “the best Denys Mallister we could have hoped for. And now his watch is ended.” Murphy’s agent said he has “never encountered a man with more spirit, passion and love for his craft.”
JJ Murphy also had a part in the movie Dracula Untold, which is due to hit theaters in October. The actor played a village elder in the film. Deadline notes that Murphy also had a role in the CBBC show The Sparticle Mystery, and he previously appeared in Angela’s Ashes, Cal and Mickybo And Me. The cause of the Game of Thrones actor’s death was not immediately available.
It seems Murphy had told friends he was very excited to be working on the HBO show, which has been filming in Northern Ireland. It would seem, based on the statement from the executive producers, that there will be some scrambling and rewriting happening now that they have determined they will not recast the role.
JJ Murphy is not necessarily a familiar face or name to American audiences, and it seems he primarily worked in the theater in Northern Ireland. Those who knew him say he was a great actor, a lovely man, and a true gentleman. Reports indicate that a funeral will be held for Murphy in Belfast on Wednesday. The Game of Thrones actor who died leaves behind a wife, Mary, and grown children.
[Image via Doznajerno Online Magazine]