Brad William Henke, Actor in ‘Orange Is the New Black’ and ‘Justified’ and Former Football Pro, Dies at 56

Brad William Henke, the former NFL player known for his role as prison guard Desi Piscatella in “Orange Is the New Black,” has died. He was 56.

The actor died on Tuesday, according to a rep, but no cause was revealed.

Henke appeared in Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” as Desi Piscatella, a gay corrections officer at Litchfield Penitentiary who served as the main antagonist of Season 4 and 5. He shared a SAG Award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series in 2017.

He had a lead role in the series “Going to California,” which ran for one season, and also had recurring roles on “Justified,” where he played Coover Bennett, “Lost,” “October Road,” “Nikki” and “Dexter.”

Born on April 10, 1966, in Columbus, Neb., Henke played college football at the University of Arizona, where he was team captain. In 1990, he played on the defensive line for the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV against the San Francisco 49ers.

After sustaining injuries that forced him to retire from professional football in 1994, he began a career in acting and scored guest spots on such television series as “Chicago Hope,” “Silk Stockings,” “ER,” “Michael Hayes,” “Arli$$” and “The Pretender.”

He later guested on “Law & Order,” “Life on Mars,” “Trust Me,” “Party Down,” “Royal Pains,” “Criminal Minds,” “Shameless,” “Grimm,” “Bones” and “Castle.” Other TV credits include “The Bridge,” “The Stand,” “Manhunt,” “The Office” and “The Chicago Code.”

On the film side, Henke appeared in “Split,” “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday,” “Pure Love,” “Draft Day,” “Pacific Rim,” “The Frozen Ground,” “Jobs,” “I Am Not a Hipster,” “Magic Valley,” “The Space Between,” “Choke,” “Must Love Dogs” and “The Assassination of Richard Nixon.”

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