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J. J. Murphy, a veteran Northern Ireland actor who was just cast in HBO’s Game of Thrones, has died, only four days after his scenes were filmed. He was 86 years old.
Murphy died on Friday after he collapsed. He was set to play Ser Denys Mallister, the oldest member of the Night’s Watch, in Game of Thrones. According to The Belfast Telegraph, which confirmed his death, Murphy told friends he was very happy to work on the international hit show, which was filming in Northern Ireland.
While it was not immediately clear if his part would be recast, showrunners D. B. Weiss and David Benioff told Entertainment Weekly in a statement that it will not. “We will not be recasting J.J. Murphy. He was a lovely man, and the best Denys Mallister we could have hoped for. And now his watch is ended,” they said.
Murphy was better known in the U.K. and Ireland before joining GoT. He appeared in CBBC’s The Sparticle Mystery, along with the films Mickybo and Me, Cal and Angela’s Ashes.
However, his love was for the theater and he trained at the Ulster Group Theatre School in 1948. He also performed at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre alongside Liam Neeson and Ciaran Hinds.
In addition to GoT, he also filmed a small part in the upcoming Dracula Untold, which opens in October.