Orange Is the New Black Star Dead at 56

Brad William Henke played prison guard Desi Piscatella
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2022 1:09 AM CST
Orange Is the New Black Star Dead at 56
In this image released by Netflix,Constance Shulman, from left, Lori Petty, Laura Prepon, Brad William Henke, background, and Danielle Brooks, right, appear in a scene from, "Orange is the New Black." Veterans’ groups are disturbed by the way veterans are portrayed in the new season of the Netflix...   (JoJo Whilden/Netflix via AP)

Brad William Henke, the actor who played gay prison guard Desi Piscatella on Orange Is the New Black, died Tuesday at age 56. No cause of death was released, but his family says he died in his sleep, Deadline reports. Henke, whose character is described by Variety as "the main antagonist of Season[s] 4 and 5," was born in Nebraska; he played college football for the University of Arizona and was briefly in the NFL, playing in Super Bowl XXIV for the Denver Broncos. He retired from professional football due to injuries in 1994 and started acting, scoring guest roles on shows including ER, Law & Order, Party Down, Chicago Hope, Criminal Minds, Shameless, Bones, Castle, Grimm, Nash Bridges, Silk Stockings, CSI, and The Office, among many others.

He also appeared in films including The Space Between, Must Love Dogs, World Trade Center, Pee-wee's Big Holiday, Split, Choke, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Hollywoodland, Pacific Rim, and more. In addition to OITNB, he was likely best known for his recurring roles on Justified, Lost, October Road, Nikki, and Dexter, as well as his lead role in the one-season-long television series Going to California. For his role on OITNB, he shared a SAG Award in 2017 for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series. (Read more obituary stories.)

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