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Michael Moriarty

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Michael Moriarty
Stone Vengeance
... EADA Stone (Season 2)
Character
Executive ADA Benjamin Stone
Date of birth
5 April 1941
Place of birth
Detroit, Michigan
IMDb profile

Michael Moriarty is an American-Canadian Tony, Golden Globe and Emmy-winning actor, as well as a prominent jazz musician. He is known for his portrayal of Executive Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Stone in the first four season of Law & Order.

Moriarty left the show in 1994, alleging that his departure was a result of his threatening a lawsuit against then-Attorney General Janet Reno, who had cited Law & Order as offensively violent. Moriarty criticized Reno's comment, and claimed that not only did she want to censor shows like Law and Order, but also such fare as Murder, She Wrote. He later accused Law & Order executive producer Dick Wolf of not taking his concerns seriously, and claimed that Wolf and other network executives were "caving in" to Reno's "demands" on the issue of TV violence. Moriarty published a full-page advertisement in a Hollywood trade magazine, calling upon fellow artists to stand up with him against attempts to censor TV show content. He subsequently wrote and published The Gift of Stern Angels.

Wolf and others working on Law & Order tell a different story, however. On 18 November 1993, Moriarty and Wolf, along with other television executives, met with Reno to dissuade her from supporting any law that would censor the show. Wolf said that Moriarty overreacted to any effect the law was likely to have on the show. Law & Order producers claim they were forced to remove Moriarty from the series because of "erratic behavior". One example reportedly happened during the filming of the episode "Breeder" when, according to the episode's director, Arthur Forney, Moriarty was unable to deliver his lines with a straight face. Series and network officials deny any connection to his departure and Janet Reno. Wolf also denies that the show has become less violent, graphic or controversial since 1994.

Shortly after leaving Law & Order, Moriarty moved to Canada, declaring himself a political exile.

While he has won a number of Emmy Awards, he never won for his role on Law & Order. He won two Emmy's in 1974 for his role as Jim O'Connor in The Glass Menagerie. In this feature he played with Sam Waterston, who served as Moriarty's replacement after his character was written out of Law & Order. He also won Emmy Awards for Holocaust (1978), for which he also received a Golden Globe, and James Dean (2002).

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