Dennis Shields was honored during last night’s Season 4 premiere of Billions, with a title card put up in memory of him.
On Twitter, the series’ creator and showrunner Brian Koppelman also added to told how the episode was dedicated to Shields, calling him “our brother”.
Dedicated to Dennis Shields, our brother.
— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) March 18, 2019
Fans responding to Koppelman’s tweet asked if Shields, who worked in the banking industry, had inspired any of the characters on the show.
Just curious if any of the characters on @SHO_Billions are based on Dennis Shields? Sending condolences for the loss of your close friend!
— Alison Futoran (@alison_futoran) March 18, 2019
Bethenny Frankel, who had reportedly been engaged to Dennis at the time of his death, said Shields had “touched so many people’s lives”.
During Wednesday’s episode of The Real Housewives of New York, Frankel will reportedly reveal that Dennis had actually proposed to her on April 25, but that she hadn’t told anyone about it.
Yes. We are all connected and have a long history. He really is missed and touched so many people’s lives. https://t.co/b21PT7iUzs
— Bethenny Frankel (@Bethenny) March 17, 2019
This morning after the episode aired, Bethenny posted another tweet revealing that she was still mourning Shields’ death. He passed away on August 10, 2018, after being found dead in his Trump Tower apartment at the age of 51.
While his death was reported as being from a suspected accidental overdose, his cause of death was later ruled to be underdetermined. On The Real Housewives of New York, Bethenny told her friends that she had been told he had fallen the day prior and she suspected he might have taken something for the pain.
According to the New York Post, he reportedly told responding officers at the time that he had taken a combination of oxycodone, Vicodin, and a sleeping pill.
Mourning is tricky business. It’s like the weather. There can be weeks & weeks of sunshine then one day you get whacked with a storm.
— Bethenny Frankel (@Bethenny) March 18, 2019
Koppelman was a close friend of Shields’ for 30 years. Following his death last year, he posted a tribute on Twitter describing him as one of the “smartest, most generous, people I ever came across.” Koppelman added: “He was also one of the great storytellers in the world. And understood life’s endless absurdity in his bones.”
Dennis Shields was a banker and Betheny Frankel’s on-again off-again boyfriend. #Billions
— Mitch ™Ⓜ️ (@kade6767) March 18, 2019
RIP Dennis Shields–you are missed.
— David Levien (@DavidLevien) March 18, 2019
My guess is because he was big in the finance world.
— MoneysPenny (@Callen27G) March 17, 2019
The video below shows Shields talking about his experience in banking during a guest-speaking lecture from March 18, 2015.
Shields’ LinkedIn, which is still active, reveals that he was the executive chairman of Esquire Bank, which he founded in 2007. He also founded the premier crowdfunding company YieldStreet in 2015.
Billions airs Sundays at 9/8c on Showtime.