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Law and Order

Jerry Orbach

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Jerry Orbach
Briscoe Loco Parentis
...as Detective Lennie Briscoe
(L&O Season 10)
Characters
Detective Lennie Briscoe & Frank Lehrman
Date of birth
20 October 1935
Place of birth
The Bronx, New York City
Date of death
28 December 2004
Place of death
Manhattan, New York City
Frank Lehrman
...as Frank Lehrman
IMDb profile

Jerry Orbach was an American actor who played Detective Lennie Briscoe in the Law & Order franchise.

Orbach starred on the original Law & Order series from 1992 to 2004 (Season 3 - Season 14) and became not only one of the longest-serving cast members of the show, but also one of its most popular. Before joining the main cast of the series, he had a guest role as a Defense Attorney named Frank Lehrman in the Season 2 episode "The Wages of Love".

Orbach also appeared as Lennie Briscoe in Exiled: A Law & Order Movie, the Special Victims Unit episodes "...Or Just Look Like One", "Hysteria" and "Entitled: Part 1", and the Criminal Intent episode "Poison".

He also provided his voice for the Law & Order video games "Dead on the Money", "Double or Nothing" and "Justice is Served".

Aside from the Law & Order franchise, Orbach guest starred as Lennie Briscoe in the Homicide: Life on the Street crossover episodes "For God and Country", "Baby, It's You: Part 2" and "Sideshow: Part 2".

For his role on Law & Order, Orbach was nominated for a 2000 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (for his performance in the Season 10 episode "Marathon") and was posthumously awarded a 2005 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series. He was also declared as a "Living Landmark" by the New York Landmarks Conservancy in 2002, along with fellow cast member Sam Waterston.

All fans of Orbach should check out his performance as NYPD detective Gus Levy in the 1981 movie Prince of the City, co-starring Treat Williams.

Orbach was signed to continue playing Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order: Trial by Jury, but appeared in only the first two episodes of the series. Both episodes aired in March 2005, after his death. The fifth episode of the series, "Baby Boom", was dedicated to his memory, as well as the original series episode "Mammon" and the Criminal Intent episode "View From Up Here".

Orbach died from prostate cancer on 28 December 2004, at the age of 69. He was reportedly diagnosed with this cancer more than a decade before, but his illness was not publicly revealed until just a few weeks before he passed away. The day after his death, the marquees on Broadway were dimmed in mourning; one of the highest honors of the American theatre world. That same day, NBC re-aired the Law & Order episode "C.O.D." (the last episode of the original series to feature Orbach), also in honor of him. Jerry was survived by his wife Elaine, two sons from his first marriage, two grandchildren, and his mother (who lived to be 101).

Trivia Edit

  • Jerry Orbach was the third longest-lasting main cast member of the original Law & Order, behind S. Epatha Merkerson and Sam Waterston. Along with Steven Hill, these three were also the only regular cast members to last at least 10 seasons on the show.
  • Despite being the third cast member to play the role of Senior Detective on the original Law & Order, Orbach remained on the show far longer than both of his predecessors (George Dzundza and Paul Sorvino); as well as his replacement (Dennis Farina).
  • Jerry's son Chris Orbach had a recurring role as Detective Ken Briscoe (the nephew of Lennie Briscoe) during the first season of Special Victims Unit, and his cousin Ron made guest appearances on Law & Order, Criminal Intent, and Trial by Jury. His older son Tony was featured in the Law & Order episode "Doubles" as a reporter.



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