‘Orange Is the New Black’ Star Brad William Henke Dies at 56

Brad William Henke
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Brad William Henke, the actor known for roles like Desi Piscatella, the prison guard in Orange Is the New Black, has died at the age of 56.

A representative for the actor revealed he died in his sleep on Tuesday, November 27, but no cause of death was revealed.

“Brad was an incredibly kind man of joyous energy,” Matt DelPiano, Henke’s manager, told TMZ. “A very talented actor, he loved being a part of this community….and we loved him back. Our thoughts are with his wife and family.”

Brad William Henke in 'Orange Is the New Black'

Brad William Henke in Orange Is the New Black (Credit: JoJo Whilden / ©Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection)

Before taking on Hollywood, the actor was a professional football player for the Denver Broncos, playing in Super Bowl XXIV in 1990, but he retired in 1994 after sustaining multiple injuries. This marked his transition to acting, which saw him taking on parts small parts in a wide variety of shows ranging from Chicago Hope, Silk Stockings, ER, Michael Hayes, Arli$$, The Pretender, Law & Order, Life on Mars, Trust Me, Party Down, Royal Pains, Criminal Minds, Shameless, Grimm, Bones, Castle, The Bridge, The Stand, and Manhunt to The Office.

He also had small roles in films, including 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.


But his big break came when he scored the lead role in Going to California, which ran for one season. This led to recurring roles in Justified, Lost, October Road, Nikki, Dexter, and Sneaky Pete.

But the role that he will probably be most remembered for is Piscatella, the gay corrections officer who served as the chief antagonist on Orange is the New Black during seasons 4 and 5. He took home a SAG Award with the rest of his castmates when they won for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series in 2017.