Irish actor J.J. Murphy, an 88-year-old recently cast in Game Of Thrones’ fifth season, died just four days after shooting his first scenes, according to the Belfast Telegraph. Murphy was playing Ser Denys Mallister, an elder member of the Night’s Watch and commander of the Shadow Tower, and had just completed work on his first scenes when he suddenly collapsed and died last Friday.
Murphy was best known for his work on the stage, spending most of this theater career at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, which also produced Irish actors like Liam Neeson and Ciaran Hinds. Along with a handful of appearances in films like Angela’s Ashes, Murphy has a role in the upcoming Dracula Untold as a village elder. The Telegraph says he’d told friends he was excited about joining Game Of Thrones, while Murphy’s agent told The Guardian he was “absolutely delighted” to be cast “in one of the biggest productions in the world at this stage in his career.”
While Murphy was set to film more scenes as Mallister, showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff say they won’t be recasting him. “He was a lovely man, and the best Denys Mallister we could have hoped for. And now his watch is ended,” the producers said in a statement, suggesting they may order a rewrite to incorporate his death. (Considering this is Game Of Thrones, that shouldn’t prove difficult.)