JJ Murphy died just four days into filming his Game of Thrones role for the show’s upcoming fifth season. The 86-year-old passed away on Friday. Murphy played the role of Ser Denys Mallister, the most senior member of the Night’s Watch.
“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,” Game of Thrones executive producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff said in a statement to media.
When JJ Murphy died, he had only filmed the first few scenes out of what he was scheduled to film for season five of Game of Thrones. It is uncertain how the producers plan to tweak scenes in light of his passing.
— Midwest Movies (@midwestmoviesus) August 11, 2014
Both fans and those within the acting community expressed their sorrow once learning that JJ Murphy died.
Very sorry to hear about JJ Murphy. Used to have long chats about Sherlock Holmes and he did a reading once for the NI Society. Lovely man.
— Alex.Kane (@AlexKane221b) August 11, 2014
Very sad to hear that life member JJ Murphy has passed away. Condolences to his family & friends, & we thank him for his years of support.
— Equity (@EquityUK) August 11, 2014
The Arts Council has learned with regret of the death of veteran Northern Ireland actor JJ Murphy (1928 – 2014) http://t.co/2Z4VOS7DRF
— ArtsCouncilNI (@ArtsCouncilNI) August 11, 2014
Sad to hear that JJ Murphy, who was cast to play Ser Mallister of the Nights Watch passed away during filming GoT Season 5
— Tyrion Lannister (@GoT_Tyrion) August 11, 2014
JJ Murphy was born in Belfast and trained with the Ulster Group Theatre School in 1948. He worked alongside Liam Neeson when they were both relatively unknown actors at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre.
Shortly before JJ Murphy died he wrapped a role as a village elder in the upcoming horror film Dracula Untold, which was shot in Northern Ireland. American audiences may remember him from his role in the 1999 film Angela’s Ashes.
Image via Twitter