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Jerry Orbach

Jerry Orbach

Jerry Orbach reprised his role as the wise-cracking Lennie Briscoe in Law & Order: Trial by Jury, the drama series from executive producer Dick Wolf. Briscoe retired as a police detective and was working for the District Attorney as a DA Investigator.

Orbach, who passed away in December of 2004, portrayed the veteran Detective Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order for 12 years. As before, Briscoe takes his work seriously but uses his wry sense of humor as a buttress against the pressures of being a DA Investigator. Orbach was nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for his work on Law & Order during the 1999-2000 season.

Born in the Bronx, Orbach moved frequently as a child. From the Bronx, he moved to Mt. Vernon, New York, then to Pennsylvania where he lived in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton before moving to Springfield, Massachusetts and Waukegan, Illinois. He graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and went on to study with Lee Strasberg. Orbach is a member of the Actor's Studio.

Orbach's professional acting career began in the theater. He did summer stock at the age of 16 and made his first New York stage appearance at the age of 21 in The Threepenny Opera as Mack the Knife. In 1960, he created the role of El Gallo in the Off-Broadway milestone, The Fantasticks. Orbach made his Broadway debut in 1961 in David Merrick's production of Carnival and received his first Tony Award nomination for his portrayal of Sky Masterson in the City Center revival of Guys and Dolls. He won a Tony Award for his starring role in Promises, Promises and has also appeared in The Cradle Will Rock, Scuba Duba, 6 Rms Riv Vu and Chicago. It was in this production that Orbach met his wife Elaine Cancilla, who replaced Chita Rivera as his co-star.

Orbach toured with the national company of Neil Simon's Chapter Two for nine months and was last seen on Broadway in the original production of 42nd Street. Orbach was inducted into the Broadway Hall of Fame in 1999. Orbach's film credits include Beauty and the Beast, Postcards from the Edge, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Dirty Dancing, Someone to Watch Over Me, F/X, Brewster's Millions, Prince of the City and The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.

No stranger to television audiences, Orbach's television credits include guest appearances in the movie of Neil Simon's Broadway Bound, The Golden Girls, (both of which earned him Emmy nominations), Empty Nest and Murder, She Wrote. Additionally, he played Harry McGraw in the 1988 series The Law and Harry McGraw.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2005.
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Jerry Orbach Facts

Birth Name Jerome Bernard Orbach
OccupationActor, TV Host
BirthdayOctober 20, 1935
BirthplaceNew York, New York, USA
Date of deathDecember 28, 2004 (New York, New York, USA, age 69)
Height6' 2" (1m88)  How tall is Jerry Orbach compared to you?
Awards2005 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Best Male Actor in a Drama Series (for Law & Order)

Selected Filmography

Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition
Dirty Dancing
Beauty And The Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
Prince of Central Park
Aladdin and the King of Thieves
Out For Justice
Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary
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