Jerry was born in the Bronx. His father, Leon, was a former vaudevillian actor and his mother, Emily, was a radio singer. His family moved frequently and eventually settled in Waukegan, Illinois where he went to high school. The constant moving made him the new kid on the block and forced him to become "a chameleon" to blend in his new settings. He studied drama at the University of Illinois and at Northwestern. He then went to study acting in New York and got constant work in musicals. He slowly pushed to get acting roles in tv and movies, but was frequently overlooked because of his musical roots.IMDb Mini Biography By: John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
|Elaine Cancilla||(7 October 1979 - 28 December 2004) (his death)|
|Marta Curro||(21 June 1958 - 1975) (divorced) 2 children|
On Monday, 20th March 2000 he sued on-line auctioneer eBay Inc. in Manhattan (New York) federal court for displaying his Social Security number on the Internet. The suit alleges that eBay began broadcasting the confidential information on its Web site on Wednesday 15th March 2000 when it advertised the sale of two of Orbach's contracts from 1958.
Spent part of his childhood in Nanticoke, PA.
Created the roles of El Gallo in "The Fantasticks," Billy Flynn in "Chicago" and Julian Marsh in "42nd Street" on the New York stage.
Father of Chris Orbach and Anthony Orbach.
Was partying at the Copacabana with famed New York mobster Joey Gallo hours before Gallo was shot dead at Umberto's Clam House in New York City
He was an only child.
Worked as a chauffeur for Mae West.
Had read for the roles of Max Greevey and Phil Cerreta on "Law & Order" (1990) before finally being cast as Det. Lennie Briscoe.
In 1976, he was nominated for the Tony Award® for "Best Actor in a Musical" for his performance in "Chicago."
Announced on March 26, 2004, that he would be leaving "Law & Order" (1990) after 12 years on the series.
In 1969, he won the Tony Award for Best Actor (Musical) for his 1968 role of Chuck Baxter in the Burt Bacharach/Hal David musical "Promises, Promises", a stage adaptation of Billy Wilder's The Apartment (1960). This was preceded by a 1965 Tony nomination as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Musical) for a revival of "Guys and Dolls," and followed by a 1976 Best Actor (Musical) nomination for the original production of "Chicago."
The New York Landmark Conservancy declared him a Living Landmark.
His manager, Robert Malcolm, announced in December 2004 that he has prostate cancer. However, Malcolm said, "We expect he'll be fine. He's been playing golf, shooting his episodes (of "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005)) and doing real well".
He played the same character (Detective Lennie Briscoe) in five different television series: "Law & Order" (1990), "Homicide: Life on the Street" (1993), "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999), "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (2001) and "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005).
Had been battling prostate cancer for 10 years.
Father was German-Jewish whose ancestry was Spanish Sephardic and Mother was Polish Catholic.
Received the Edith Oliver Award for Sustained Excellence at the 1999 Lucille Lortel Awards.
On "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005), when he was so ill that he couldn't speak above a whisper, they rewrote the scene so that he and the other characters around him all had reason to whisper (outside of a courtroom door).
Along with Jesse L. Martin, Fred Dalton Thompson and Leslie Hendrix, he is one of only four actors to play the same character (Detective Lennie Briscoe) on all four "Law & Order" series ("Law & Order" (1990), "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999), "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (2001) and "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005)).
Appeared in episodes of four different series with Sam Waterston: "Law & Order" (1990), "Homicide: Life on the Street" (1993), "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999) and "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005).
Jesse L. Martin performed the song "Razzle Dazzle" from the musical "Chicago" at the 2005 Tony Awards just as the "In Memoriam" section of the show was finishing. The last photo shown during the memorial was that of Orbach, who was both Martin's costar on "Law & Order" (1990) and the first person to perform "Razzle Dazzle" in the original Broadway production of "Chicago".
His character "Law & Order" (1990) and "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005) character, Detective Lennie Briscoe, was the longest running character on American prime time live action television from May 2004, when "Frasier" (1993) ended, to March 2005. Kelsey Grammer had played Dr. Frasier Crane in "Cheers" (1982) and "Frasier" (1993) since November 1984. Richard Belzer, who has played Detective John Munch in "Homicide: Life on the Street" (1993) and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999) since January 1993, is the current holder of the title.
Before joining the cast of "Law & Order" (1990) in 1992, he played a defense attorney named Frank Lehrman in the Season Two episode "The Wages of Love". Detective Lennie Briscoe, the character he later played on the series for twelve seasons, hated defense attorneys for defending "the scum of the earth."
The "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005) episode "Baby Boom" was dedicated to his memory. At the end, a message was shown that said "For Jerry".
Is one of four cast members from "Law & Order" (1990) whose character became a regular on a "Law & Order" spin-off. He played Det. Lennie Briscoe in both "Law & Order" and "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005). Although he was signed as a regular cast member in L&O:TBJ, he died unexpectedly after shooting only two episodes.
Along with Chris Noth, Dann Florek and Fred Dalton Thompson, he is one of four "Law & Order" (1990) cast members who later joined the regular cast of one of the spin-off series. He played Detective Lennie Briscoe in "Law & Order" (1990) from 1992 to 2004 and was a member of the original cast of "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005).
Although he and Steven Hill appeared in 177 episodes of "Law & Order" (1990) and the "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999) episode "Entitled" together, the only time that they ever appeared on screen together was during one brief scene in the "Law & Order" (1990) Season Seven episode "Corruption".
According to his book "Hollywood Animal", Joe Eszterhas said that when he was down and out, Orbach would fill his station wagon with groceries and deliver them to his house.
Along with S. Epatha Merkerson, Annie Parisse,Milena Govich, and Jeremy Sisto one of only 5 "Law & Order" (1990) cast members to play a different character in an episode before joining the cast in a later season. (Michael Imperioli and J.K. Simmons also played multiple roles, but were not permanent additions to the cast.).
Was an organ donor and upon his death he gave his eyes as a gift of sight.
Made his Broadway stage debut as Smith, the Police Constable, in "The Threepenny Opera".
W 53rd St. in Manhattan has been named Jerry Orbach Way!.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 405-407. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
Jerry Orbach was an animal-rights activist.
His widow Elaine Orbach died on April 1st 2009 from pneumonia at the age of 69.
In 2007 Jerry's oldest son Tony and grandson Peter appeared on the tv-show Cash Cab together.
He has two grandchildren named Peter and Sarah Kate Orbach who are his oldest son Tony's kids. His youngest son Chris Orbach isn't married nor has kids.
I used to say when I was working in the theater that if I ever had five seasons of a hit TV show I'd never have to worry about money and wouldn't have to do anything I didn't want to do . . . The 12 seasons on "Law & Order" (1990) really made that possible.
[on working on "Law & Order" (1990)] It's a lot more fun for actors to cry and rant and rave, or have a drug problem or a drinking problem. Once in a while I get jealous of people who get to do real histrionics. But that's all right. That stuff's only about awards. It's not about people watching. People are very loyal to our show and they want to see the case resolved in an hour.
It may sound a little off the wall to say this, but having the opportunity to do this in this long an arc has given me - and is continuing to give me - a feeling that I'm doing something for the city and for the people of it and for the cops. I see it every day on the street. The profile of "Law & Order" (1990) has gotten bigger and bigger. And the way the city feels about us . . . it's like we're part of the good things that happen in the city.
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