Jerry Orbach

Jerry Orbach

69 (passed away Dec. 28th, 2004)
Oct. 20th, 1935
Born in
New York City, New York, USA
6' 2

Jerry Orbach's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Law & Order TV Show
Law & Order
Law & Order: Trial by Jury TV Show
Law & Order: Trial by Jury
The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers TV Show
The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers
Later with Bob Costas TV Show
Later with Bob Costas
Diana TV Show
Our Family Honor TV Show
Our Family Honor

Main Movie Roles

2000 - Chinese Coffee
1992 - Straight Talk
1992 - Universal Soldier
1991 - Delirious
1991 - Beauty and the Beast
1991 - Delusion
1991 - Toy Soldiers
1989 - Crimes and Misdemeanors
1989 - Last Exit to Brooklyn
1987 - Dirty Dancing
1987 - Someone to Watch Over Me
1986 - FX
1985 - Brewster's Millions
1981 - Prince of the City
1977 - The Sentinel
1961 - Mad Dog Coll
1955 - Marty

Guest TV Roles

Show Name
Characters Played
Ep Count
Lumiere (Voiced)
Harry McGraw
Detective Lennie Briscoe
Detective Lennie Briscoe
J.P. Loring
Sal Scarlatti
[Complete List]


Jerome Bernard "Jerry" Orbach (October 20, 1935 – December 28, 2004) was an American actor and singer.

Born in the Bronx, the only child of Emily (née Olexy), a greeting card manufacturer and radio singer, and Leon Orbach, a restaurant manager and vaudeville performer. 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.

He is best known on television for his starring role as Detective Lennie Briscoe in Law & Order and his recurring role as Harry McGraw in Murder, She Wrote, as well as for film roles such as Detective Gus Levy in Prince of the City, Dr. Jake Houseman in Dirty Dancing and the voice of Lumière in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Orbach was equally noted as a musical theatre star, creating roles such as El Gallo in The Fantasticks, the longest-running musical play in history; Chuck Baxter in Promises, Promises (for which he won a Tony Award); Julian Marsh in 42nd Street; and Billy Flynn in Chicago.

Orbach was married in 1958 to Marta Curro, with whom he had two sons, Anthony Nicholas and Christopher Benjamin; they divorced in (1975). Elder son Tony is a crossword puzzle constructor for The New York Times and also guest starred on the Law & Order episode "Doubles" as a reporter. Younger son Chris Orbach, who is an actor and singer, played Lennie Briscoe's nephew Ken Briscoe on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Orbach married Broadway dancer Elaine Cancilla, in 1979 whom he met while starring in Chicago.

  • On _"Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005)_ (qv), 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).
  • Appeared in episodes of three different series with 'Richard Belzer' (qv): _"Law & Order" (1990)_ (qv), _"Homicide: Life on the Street" (1993)_ (qv) and _"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999)_ (qv).
  • His character _"Law & Order" (1990)_ (qv) and _"Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005)_ (qv) character, Detective Lennie Briscoe, was the longest running character on American prime time live action television from May 2004, when _"Frasier" (1993)_ (qv) ended, to March 2005. 'Kelsey Grammer' (qv) had played Dr. Frasier Crane in _"Cheers" (1982)_ (qv) and _"Frasier" (1993)_ (qv) since November 1984. 'Richard Belzer' (qv), who has played Detective John Munch in _"Homicide: Life on the Street" (1993)_ (qv) and _"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999)_ (qv) since January 1993, is the current holder of the title.
  • Along with 'S. Epatha Merkerson' (qv), 'Annie Parisse' (qv),'Milena Govich' (qv), and 'Jeremy Sisto' (qv) one of only 5 _"Law & Order" (1990)_ (qv) cast members to play a different character in an episode before joining the cast in a later season. ('Michael Imperioli' (qv) and 'J.K. Simmons' (qv) also played multiple roles, but were not permanent additions to the cast.).
  • 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)_ (qv)) and doing real well".
  • He was an only child.
  • Appeared in episodes of three different series with 'Jesse L. Martin' (qv): _"Law & Order" (1990)_ (qv), _"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999)_ (qv) and _"Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (2001)_ (qv).
  • Received the Edith Oliver Award for Sustained Excellence at the 1999 Lucille Lortel Awards.

Related sites for this celeb
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