James L. Colby

September 20, 1961 - February 23, 2018 

James L. Colby

September 20, 1961 - February 23, 2018 

Obituary for James L. Colby

James Colby, a talented actor of stage and screen who recently appeared on Broadway in Sweat, has died at age 56. Colby's agent Don Birge confirmed his death. A regular at Connecticut's Hartford Stage, Colby's docket of credits at the esteemed theater included an acclaimed turn as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (1998), during which he met his wife, Alyssa Bresnahan, who played Stella. Other roles included Kilroy in Camino Real (1999) and Reverand Shannon in Night of the Iguana (2003). Colby made his Broadway debut as Bernardo in a revival of Shakespeare's Hamlet (1992). His extensive off-Broadway résumé included roles in Blade to the Heat (1994), The Food Chain (1995), The Devils (1997), Labor Day (1998), The Butterfly Collection (2000), The Day Emily Married (2004) and Dividing the Estate (2007). He originated the role of Stan in the off-Broadway production of Lynn Nottage's Sweat (2016), later reprising his turn in the Pulitzer-winning play's Tony-nominated 2017 Broadway premiere. Colby made many screen appearances throughout his career, taking on long-running roles as Sergeant Ray Dwyer on Chicago P.D. and Burleson on Empire. Screen turns also included The Peacemaker (1997), Safe (2012) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014). Beloved husband of Alyssa Bresnahan. Loving father of Shannon Rose Colby. Devoted son of Margaret and William Colby of Arlington. Brother of Stephanie King of Cambridge and Christine Colby-Sams of Bellingham. Also survived by 4 nieces and nephews. Funeral from the Keefe Funeral Home, 5 Chestnut St. Arlington, on Saturday at 10 am. Memorial mass in Saint Agnes’ Church, Arlington at 11:30 am. Relatives and friends invited. Visitation at the funeral home from 10-11 am. Burial is private. Please omit flowers. To send a message of condolence visit www.keefefuneralhome.com.

To send flowers to the family of James L. Colby, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.

  • Brought to you by

  • 5 Chestnut Street
    Arlington, MA
    02474
  • 781-648-5544

Help & Healing Resources

In the event that there is an error in the information presented, please contact the funeral home by clicking here.