Actor J.J. Murphy is dead at age 86, days after filming his first scenes for the fifth season of Game of Thrones. According to Variety (via the Belfast Telegraph), the Irish actor – who had been cast as Shadow Tower commander Ser Denys Mallister for the HBO fantasy-drama – collapsed and died on Friday, August 8th, after four days on set.
“We will not be recasting J.J. Murphy,” Thrones producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff said in a statement. “He was a lovely man, and the best Denys Mallister we could have hoped for. And now his watch is ended.”
The veteran stage actor had worked largely in stage drama, with his most notable film performances coming in the 1984 romantic thriller Cal and the Oscar-nominated 1999 drama Angela’s Ashes. Murphy secured a role in the Gary Shore-directed action-horror film Dracula Untold, which is scheduled to hit theaters on October 17th.
HBO recently revealed new cast additions for Game of Thrones Season Five – including roles for Tony Sebastian (as Trystane Martell, son of Doran and heir to Dorne) and Nell Tiger Free (as Trystane’s betrothed, Myrcella Baratheon). British veteran Jonathan Pryce (Brazil, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise) will play a religious leader called the High Sparrow, who, according to an HBO character description, “came to King’s Landing to serve those forgotten by much of the world – the poor, the downtrodden and the infirm – and quickly amassed a large following. His fellow believers have swarmed over the city, ministering to the lowest and decrying the corruption of the highest.”
As Entertainment Weekly reports, the upcoming season will visit Dorne, the homeland of the Red Viper, Oberyn Martell. Most of the Dorne scenes will be shot in Spain, a new location for the series.