Tag Archives: Dennis Franz

NYPD Blue

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NYPD Blue is an American television police procedural set in New York City, exploring the struggles of the fictional 15th Precinct ofManhattan. Each episode typically intertwined several plots involving an ensemble cast.

The show was created by Steven Bochco and David Milch and was inspired by Milch’s relationship with Bill Clark, a former member of the New York City Police Department who eventually became one of the show’s producers. The series was originally broadcast on the ABC network, debuted on September 21, 1993‚ and aired its final episode on March 1, 2005. It remains ABC’s longest-running primetime one-hour drama series.

NYPD Blue was met with critical acclaim, praised for its grittiness and realistic portrayal of the cast’s personal and professional lives, though the show garnered controversy for its depiction of nudity and alcoholism. In 1997, “True Confessions” (Season 1, Episode 4), written by Art Monterastelli and directed by Charles Haid, was ranked #36 on TV Guide‘s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 2009, TV Guide ranked “Hearts and Souls” (Season 6, Episode 5), Jimmy Smits‘ final episode written by Steven Bochco, David Milch, Bill Clark, and Nicholas Wootton and directed by Paris Barclay, #30 on TV Guide‘s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.

Here are profiles of some of NYPD Blue‘s stars.

DAVID CARUSO

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David Stephen Caruso (born January 7, 1956) is an American actor and producer. His most prominent roles are his portrayals of Lieutenant Horatio Caine on the TV series CSI: Miami and as Detective John Kelly on the ABC crime drama NYPD Blue. He also appeared in movies such as First Blood, Kiss of Death, Jade and Proof of Life

Early life

Caruso was born in Forest Hills Gardens, Queens, New York, New York, the son of Joan, a librarian, and Charles Caruso, a magazine and newspaper editor. He is of Irish and Italian (Sicilian) descent. His father left when he was two years of age, forcing him to “end up fathering myself”, as he put it. Raised as a Roman Catholic, Caruso attended Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic School in Forest Hills.  He later attended Archbishop Molloy High School in nearby Briarwood, graduating in 1974.

Caruso worked as a cinema usher, where he would see up to eighty movies a week. He said that he and his coworkers would act out scenes from some of these movies while they were at the back of the theater. It was in this job he found his role models in Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and Edward G Robinson. 

The ethics of certain actors certainly had a power over me. These guys taught me how to be what I call a stand up kind of guy.

Career

1980s

His first film appearance was in the 1980 film Getting Wasted as Danny. Caruso then spent most of the next decade in film supporting roles, appearing in such films as First Blood, An Officer and a Gentleman, Blue City, Thief of Hearts and China Girl. Caruso credits his role as Daniels, “the cadet who nearly drowned,” in An Officer and a Gentleman as what got him noticed. Caruso also appeared in Twins. On television, he had a recurring role as Tommy Mann, the leader of the street gang The Shamrocks on Hill Street Blues in the early 1980s. He made a two-episode appearance on the television series Crime Story which ran from 1986 to 1988 on NBC. In 1984, Caruso portrayed U.S. Olympian James Brendan Connolly in the NBC miniseries The First Olympics: Athens, 1896.

1990s

Caruso had supporting roles as police officers in the crime films King of New York (1990) and Mad Dog and Glory (1993). While filming 1991’s Hudson Hawk, Caruso employed method acting, refusing to talk to anyone on set because his character, Kit-Kat, was mute, having had his tongue bitten off.

Caruso’s first major role was in 1993 as Detective John Kelly on NYPD Blue, for which Caruso won a Golden Globe Award. TV Guide named Caruso as one of the six new stars to watch in the 1993–94 season. He made news by leaving the highly rated show the following year (only four episodes into the second season) after failing to obtain the raise he wanted. He was unable to establish himself as a leading man in films despite starring in the crime thriller Kiss of Death, which was critically well-received but did not perform well financially. He also appeared in Jade (1995), which flopped critically and at the box office. In a 2010 issue of TV Guide, Caruso’s decision to leave NYPD Blue was ranked #6 on a list of TV’s 10 biggest “blunders”. In the first episode of South Park, (“Cartman Gets an Anal Probe“) Kyle tells his brother Ike to “do your impersonation of David Caruso’s career” to get Ike to jump out of a spaceship.

In 1997, Caruso returned to television as a New York City-based federal prosecutor in the short-lived CBS law drama series, Michael Hayes, which aired for one season.

2000s

Caruso returned to film with a supporting role as Russell Crowe‘s mercenary associate in the film Proof of Life in 2000. In 2001, he had a lead role in the cult psychological horror film Session 9.

From 2002 to 2012, he starred as Lieutenant Horatio Caine in the popular CSI spin-off series CSI: Miami. He was the first actor in the franchise to appear as the same character on three of the four CSI programs. On CSI: Miami, Caruso is known for frequently using one-liners at the beginning of each episode. Many of these include him putting on his trademark sunglasses mid-sentence, then walking off-screen just as the main theme starts (finishing move). On an episode of the Late Show with David Letterman that aired on March 8, 2007, comedian Jim Carrey professed to being a fan of the show and went on to satirically impersonate Caruso. Carrey asked for an “intense close-up” from the camera, spoke in a deep voice and put sunglasses on. Caruso later said in an interview with CBS that he was impressed with the impersonation.

Personal life

Caruso is founder of DavidCarusoTelevision.tv and LexiconDigital.tv, as well as co-owner of Steam on Sunset, a clothing store in South Miami.

Caruso has a daughter, Greta with his second wife, Rachel Ticotin. He and former girlfriend Liza Marquez have two children together: a son and a daughter.

In April 2009, Marquez filed papers against Caruso for fraud, breach of their settlement agreement and emotional distress.

In March 2009, an Austrian woman was placed in custody in Tyrol, Austria, on charges of stalking Caruso; she had twice failed to appear in court to answer the charges before fleeing to Mexico; following her deportation from Mexico, Austrian officials took her into custody to await trial on the stalking charges.

Awards and nominations

In 1994 Caruso won a Golden Globe Award for starring in NYPD Blue as Detective John Kelly, for which he was also nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. In 2001, he was nominated for the Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor – Suspense for starring in the film Proof of Life as Dino.

DENNIS FRANZ

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Dennis Franz Schlachta, born October 28, 1944, is an American actor best known for his role as hard-boiled NYPD Detective Andy Sipowicz in NYPD Blue

Early life

Franz was born in Maywood, Illinois, the son of German immigrants Eleanor, a postal worker, and Franz Schlachta, who was a baker and postal worker. Franz is a graduate of Proviso East High School (in Maywood), Wilbur Wright College and Southern Illinois University Carbondale. After graduating from college, Franz was drafted into the United States Army. He served eleven months with the 82nd Airborne Division in Vietnam.

Career

Franz began his acting career at Chicago’s Organic Theater Company. Although he has in the past performed Shakespeare, his appearance led to his being typecast early in his career as a police officer. (By Franz’s own count, the character of Andy Sipowicz was his 27th role as a police officer). He has also guest starred in shows such as The A-Team. Other major roles were on the television series Hill Street Blues in which he played two characters over the run of that show. Franz first played the role of Detective Sal Benedetto, a corrupt cop in the 1983 season, who later kills himself. Due to his popularity with fans, he returned in 1985 as Lt. Norm Buntz, remaining until the show’s end in 1987. He also starred in the short-lived Beverly Hills Buntz as the same character.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Franz worked regularly with directors Brian De Palma and Robert Altman. He appeared in three of Altman’s films from this period, and five of De Palma’s, most prominently as a low budget movie director in Body Double (1984).

Franz went on to win four Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue. The character of Sipowicz was ranked #23 on Bravo‘s 100 Greatest TV Characters list.

In 1994 Franz made a cameo appearance as himself in The Simpsons episode “Homer Badman” — when Homer is accused of sexually harassing a babysitter, the case becomes tabloid fodder, generating an exploitative television movie, Homer S.: Portrait of an Ass-Grabber, in which Franz portrays Homer.

In May 11, 2001, Franz was featured in the celebrity edition of the hit television game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, winning $US250,000 for his charity.

He starred as Earl, the abusive husband, in the Dixie Chicks‘ music video “Goodbye Earl,” as airport police captain Carmine Lorenzo in the 1990 film Die Hard 2 and as Nathaniel Messinger in the 1998 film, City of Angels.

Franz has stayed out of the acting spotlight since 2005 to focus on his private life. He has told Access Hollywood he would be interested in returning to acting if given the right opportunity.

Personal life

Franz is married to Joanie Zeck, whom he met in 1982 and married in 1995. He is stepfather to Zeck’s two daughters, Tricia and Krista, from a previous marriage.

 

 

JAMES McDANIEL

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James McDaniel (born March 25, 1958) is an American stage, film and television actor. He is best known for playing Lt. Arthur Fancy on NYPD Blue. He created the role of Paul in the hit Lincoln center play 6 Degrees of Separation. He also played a police officer in the ill-fated 1990 series Cop Rock, and a close advisor to activist Malcolm X in the 1992 film Malcolm X. He also played Sgt. Jesse Longford in the ABC television series Detroit 1-8-7.

He was born in Washington, D.C.

 

 SHARON LAWRENCE

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Sharon Elizabeth Lawrence (born June 29, 1961) is an American actress, singer, and dancer. She is best known for the role of Sylvia Costas Sipowicz in NYPD Blue. The role garnered her three Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Serie

Early life

Lawrence was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, the daughter of Earlyn, an education administrator and Head Start supervisor, and Tom Lawrence, a television news reporter for WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina. She grew up in Charlotte, moved to Raleigh in her junior year of high school, graduated from Needham B. Broughton High School and then University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Career

Lawrence began her acting career on Broadway stage in the 1987 revival of Cabaret. In 1990, she performed in Fiddler on the Roof. She appeared in a number of television movies and series in 1990s, like Cheers, and Star Trek: Voyager. In 1993 she was cast as Assistant District Attorney Sylvia Costas in NYPD Blue. Her consistently praised performance earned the actress three Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series nominations from 1993 to 1996, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series in 1996. In 1996 she left the show for her own comedy series, Fired Up on NBC.  The series was canceled after two seasons. She later returned to NYPD Blue as a regular, and left the show in 1999, after her character was killed.

Lawrence starred with Betty White and Alfred Molina on the short-lived sitcom Ladies Man from 1999 to 2001. She played Velma Kelly in the Broadway musical Chicago in 2000.  She also had a series regular role on the CBS supernatural drama Wolf Lake from 2001 to 2002. In film, she co-starred in Gossip (2000), Little Black Book (2004), and The Alibi (2006).

Lawrence guest starred on many television dramas and sitcoms in the 2000s. She played Maisy Gibbons, a housewife/prostitute in season one o fDesperate Housewives. She also appeared in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Boston Legal, Monk, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Mentalist, and Body of Proof. She had a regular role on the short-lived CW teenage drama series Hidden Palms (2008), as Tess Wiatt, and was seen in the Canadian cable television drama The Line in 2009.

In 2009, Lawrence was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal as Izzie Stevens‘ mother on Grey’s Anatomy. In April 2010, Lawrence joined Josh Schwartz’s CBS pilot Hitched. In October 2010, she began a recurring role on One Tree Hill as Sylvia Baker, the mother of Julian Baker (Austin Nichols) who comes to Tree Hill from Los Angeles to plan the upcoming wedding of Julian and Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush). She also played the lead character mother in a Lifetime comedy-drama Drop Dead Diva from 2009 to 2013. Also, she played the birthmother of Dr. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander) in the TNT television series Rizzoli & Isles, although in real life the actresses are only 12 years apart. In recent years, Lawrence also starred in several independent films. In 2013 she was cast in the Chris Carter thriller drama series The After. The show was set to premiere on Amazon Studios in 2014 but was cancelled by Amazon before its premiere on January 5, 2015. In March, 2015, Lawrence was cast in the ABC comedy-drama pilot Mix.

Personal life

In 2002, Lawrence married Dr. Tom Apostle. Their wedding was held at the Greek Orthodox church Saint Sophia, the same Los Angeles church in which her character, Sylvia Costas, in NYPD Blue married Detective Andy Sipowicz. Lawrence has played on the World Poker Tour and performed in benefits for Alzheimer’s Association in Los Angeles called Night at Sardi’s and the What A Pair show for the John Wayne Breast Cancer Center.

Lawrence is the Chairman of the Women In Film Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Women In Film, which since 1973 has advanced professional opportunities for women in the global entertainment marketplace. She supports Global Green and World Wildlife Fund to protect the environment and endangered species. She is an avid scuba diver.

JIMMY SMITS

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James “Jimmy” Smits (born July 9, 1955) is an American actor. Smits played attorney Victor Sifuentes on the 1980s legal drama L.A. LawNYPD Detective Bobby Simone on NYPD Blue, and Matt Santos on The West Wing. He also appeared as Bail Organa in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and Miguel Prado in Dexter. In 2012, he joined the main cast of Sons of Anarchy as high-level pimp Nero Padilla.

Early life

Smits was born in Brooklyn, New York. His father, Cornelis Leendert Smits, was from Paramaribo, Suriname, and was of Dutch descent. His mother, Emilina (Pola), was Puerto Rican, born in Peñuelas. Smits identifies himself as Puerto Rican, and was raised in a strictly devout Roman Catholic family. “Jimmy” is the name on his birth certificate, rather than “Jim” or “James”. He has two sisters, Yvonne and Diana. He grew up in a working-class neighborhood and spent time in Puerto Rico during his childhood. Smits earned a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in 1980 and an MFA from Cornell University in 1982. Though born in New York, Smits has deep Puerto Rican roots and frequently visits the island. In 2001, he was arrested for his participation in protests against U.S. Navy bombing practices on the Puerto Rican offshore island of Vieques.

Career

An early role played by Smits was that of Eddie Rivera in the series premiere of Miami Vice. In the episode, he was Sonny Crockett‘s original partner, only to be shortly killed off in a sting gone wrong. He played Victor Sifuentes in the first five seasons of the long-running legal drama L.A. Law.

Smits played a repairman on Pee-wee’s Playhouse. He also starred in the multigenerational story of a Chicano family in My Family in 1995.

One of Smits’ most acclaimed roles was that of Detective Bobby Simone on NYPD Blue, which he starred in from 1994 to 1998. He was nominated several times for Emmys for his performance on that television series and won the ALMA award twice.

Smits appeared as Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), in which the character becomes Princess Leia‘s adoptive father. He reappears as Bail Organa in the game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

In 1999, he received the HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA).

Smits was to have hosted the 2001 Latin Grammy Awards broadcast on September 11, 2001, but it was called off because of the terrorist attacks that day. He instead hosted a non-televised press conference to announce the winners.

Smits played the role of Congressman Matt Santos of Houston, Texas, in the final two seasons of the American television drama The West Wing, joining fellow L.A. Law alumnus John Spencer. Smits’s character eventually ran for and won the US Presidency in the series.

For the third season of Dexter, Smits played the role of Miguel Prado, an assistant district attorney who befriends Dexter. Smits was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for the role. Additionally, he portrayed the character Alex Vega in the CBS TV series Cane, which aired from September 25, 2007, to December 18, 2007, and was subsequently cancelled by the network due to the 2007 Screen Writer’s Guild strike.

Smits joined the Sons of Anarchy cast in season 5 as Nero Padilla, a high-level pimp who refers to himself as a “companionator.” He builds a relationship with Gemma Teller Morrow (Katey Sagal) and creates an alliance and mentorship with the central character Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam).

Smits will star in The Get Down, a musical drama television series that is slated to debut in 2016 on Netflix.

Stage performances

In the mid-1980s, Smits acted in numerous performances at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York. His roles at the Hangar included Max in the 1982 production of Cabaret and Paul in Loose Ends the same year. Smits has participated in the Public Theater‘s New York Shakespeare Festival, playing the role of Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night in 2002, and Benedick in Much Ado about Nothing in 2004. From November 2009 to February 2010, he appeared opposite Christine Lahti, Annie Potts and Ken Stott in the critically lauded Broadway play God of Carnage, replacing Jeff Daniels. In December 2012 through March 2013, he appeared in Chicago in The Motherfucker with the Hat at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

Personal life

Smits was married to Barbara Smits from 1981 until their divorce in 1987. They have two children, Taina (born in 1973) and Joaquin (born in 1983). Since 1986, Smits has been in a relationship with actress Wanda De Jesus; they live in Los Angeles. Smits helped found the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts to advance the presence of Latinos in the media, telecommunications and entertainment industries. Smits is also an advocate for diagnostic colorectal screening and has appeared in a public service commercial. Most recently, Smits filmed a PSA for Detroit Non-Profit Cass Community Social Services. Smits will act as the Honorary Chair of their 6th Annual “Catch the Fireworks With Cass” event that takes place during the notable fireworks display in Brooklyn.

Smits was arrested in 1987 for assaulting an officer after police answered a call for help at his home. He and his girlfriend were arrested for battery on three police officers who responded to the call. The charges were later dropped because of conflicting witness statements. Smits later pled guilty to the misdemeanor of disturbing the peace, receiving a sentence of 18 months of unsupervised probation and a $150 fine. Wanda De Jesus pled guilty to misidentifying herself to a police officer and disturbing the peace. She received a fine of $250, 18 months of unsupervised probation and 75 hours of community service.

Charity work

Smits’s main accomplishment in the non-profit sector has been his work with the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts. Smits has also donated to several other organizations, including the Red Cross, New York Cares, and Stand up to Cancer. In addition, he regularly donates to HIV and AIDS treatment and to further human rights around the world. His main work with Latinos is summarized by these quotes:

I’ve been very lucky to work on a wide variety of projects, including two long-run and top-10 dramatic television shows. That is why it is so important to offer a helping hand to the next generation of young Latinos coming up behind me.

I am a firm believer in education and have worked very hard to tell young Latinos that they must go to college and that, if possible, they should pursue an advanced degree. I am convinced that education is the great equalizer.