Judith Scheff, Brian Dennehy’s Ex-Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Brian Dennehy and Judith Scheff

Getty/Facebook Brian Dennehy and Judith Scheff

Movie, television and stage actor Brian Dennehy died on Wednesday, April 15, at the age of 81. Dennehy is known for roles in movies such as Tommy Boy, Cocoon and First Blood, as well as shows To Catch a Killer and Death of a Salesman.

His daughter, Elizabeth Dennehy, confirmed the news on her social media. He died of natural causes, and his daughter clarified that it wasn’t related to the coronavirus pandemic.


She said, “It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes, not Covid-related. Larger than life, generous to a fault, a proud and devoted father and grandfather, he will be missed by his wife Jennifer, family and many friends.”

Elizabeth is the daughter of Brian and his first wife, Judith Scheff. Scheff passed away at the age of 74 on November 16, 2015, after a brief illness.

Here’s what you need to know about Judith Scheff:

1. Scheff & Dennehy Were Married From 1959 to 1974

Dennehy and Scheff tied the knot in 1959 and were married until 1974. They had three kids together: Elizabeth, Kathleen and Deirdre. Their eldest daughter, Elizabeth, became an actress herself, and she has starred in TV shows such as Guiding Light and Seinfeld.

After Scheff split from Dennehy, she remarried a federal judge, Gregory W. Carman, on August 26, 1994. 

2. She Was a Dedicated Mother to 3 Kids & Grandmother

Scheff was a mother to three kids and four step-children and a grandmother to 16. After Scheff’s death, Elizabeth said to Newsday, “She lost her mother when she was 16 years old, but she always wanted to be a mom we would remember. She always put other people’s needs before her own.”

Daughter Kathleen said, “She was as strong as an ox and she pushed herself. Eventually to her detriment,” and “she just never stopped moving.”

According to Newsday, Scheff would drive her kids 45 minutes to school and back from their house in West Gilgo Beach in New York. She would also drive hours and across state lines to see any of her grandchildren perform in a show.

When she married Carman, she gained four stepchildren, Gregory Jr., Jim, Mira and John.

3. Scheff Was a Kindergarten Teacher for 20 Years

Scheff was a kindergarten teacher at PS 112 in Harlem for 20 years. According to her obituary, she had a love for her students and was deeply proud to be an educator.

Scheff continued to attend college throughout her adult life, and she obtained various education degrees. She went to Hofstra University in Hempstead, St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, C.W. Post College in Brooklyn and Brooklyn College.

4. She Remarried & Traveled the World With Her Second Husband, Gregory Carman

On April 26, 1994, she married Gregory Carman. Carman was a Senior United States Judge of the United States Court of International Trade. He also had a two-year stint as a Republican member of the House of Representatives from 1981 to 1983.

He served in the United States Army as a captain from 1958 to 1964. Carman himself recently died on April 5, 2020. 

According to Newsday, Scheff and Carman traveled the world together. They visited every state in the country, almost every country in Europe, and most of Africa, Antarctica, Asia and South America.

5. Scheff Was Born in 1941 in Long Island, New York

Scheff was born to Muriel and David Scheff on May 5, 1941, in Mineola, Long Island. She had two brothers, Boyd and Gerard, and she graduated from Mineola High School in 1959.

When she initially went to Hofstra University, she was a part of the Hofstra cheerleading team. She left after one year at the university to start her family.

READ NEXT: Brian Dennehy Dead: ‘Tommy Boy’ Actor Dies at 81

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