Jerome Bernard “Jerry” Orbach (October 20, 1935 – December 28, 2004) was an American actor and singer, described at his death as “one of the last bona fide leading men of the Broadway musical and global celebrity on television” and a “versatile stage and film actor”.
Orbach’s professional career began on the New York stage, both on and off-Broadway, where he created roles such as El Gallo in the original off-Broadway run of The Fantasticks (1960) and became the first performer to sing that show’s standard “Try To Remember”; Billy Flynn in the original Chicago (1975-1977), and Julian Marsh in the original 42nd Street (1980-1985). Nominated for multiple Tony Awards, Orbach won for his performance as Chuck Baxter in Promises, Promises (1968-1972).
Later in his career, Orbach played supporting roles in various films; such as Prince of the City (1981), Dirty Dancing (1987), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991). He also made frequent guest appearances on television; including a recurring role on Murder, She Wrote (1985-1991). However, he gained worldwide fame for his starring role as NYPD Detective Lennie Briscoe on the long-running NBC crime drama Law & Order (1992-2004).