"Games of Thrones" actor JJ Murphy dies days into filming role

Actor JJ Murphy died at his home in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Aug. 8, 2014. The would-be "Game of Thrones" star was 86.

Independent Agency

Authorities say Irish actor J.J. Murphy has died days after starting his new role on the HBO series "Game of Thrones."

No cause of death was given for the 86-year-old performer, who worked for decades on the Belfast, Northern Ireland, stage. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland praised Murphy as a mentor to younger Belfast actors, including Liam Neeson.

Murphy had been cast on "Game of Thrones" to portray Ser Denys Mallister, the oldest member of the Night's Watch military order, and started filming his scenes last week. He died Friday at his home.

Much of the fantasy series is filmed in Northern Ireland and local actors feature prominently in the cast.

"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," executive producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff said in a statement Monday on the show's official Twitter page.

Murphy's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday in Belfast.