Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Lennie, you will be missed

Jerry Orbach (better known to most of us as Lennie Briscoe of Law & Order) died last night of prostate cancer. I guess I'm a bit late posting on this, as the story has been making the round of the blogs already, like here & here. What inspired me to this post is that NBC dedicated tonight's rerun of Law & Order to his memory, and, whether planned or not, aired an episode in which he starred. USA Today has an excellent story about him, and include some excellent details about his life and career before Law & Order:
So convincing was Orbach as Briscoe that it surprises some viewers to hear he was once one of the most sought-after leading men of American musical theater.

He made his mark with his first major role, introducing the song Try to Remember in the off-Broadway smash The Fantasticks. He scored his biggest personal triumph in Promises, Promises, for which he won his only Tony Award.

Orbach had another signature role in Chicago, as the slick lawyer Billy Flynn. His last great Broadway success was in 42nd Street, urging a theater neophyte to listen to the Lullaby of Broadway.

Other notable credits include The Threepenny Opera, Carnival! and a 1960s revival of Guys and Dolls.

Orbach appeared in numerous films, including Dirty Dancing and Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors. He was the voice of Lumière the candlestick in Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

Born Jerome Bernard Orbach, he was the only child of a vaudeville actor and radio singer.