Try to remember

I was crushed by the death last week of Jerry Orbach at 69. Of course I adored him as wry Detective Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order. But I first came to love him as Julian Marsh in 42nd Street on Broadway (This was the show that set off a maniacal but short-lived obsession with tapdancing.) Jerry’s voice was clear, strong and masculine, and I saved up my allowance to see the show three times. As much as I enjoyed Richard Gere’s performance in the movie of Chicago, there’s no comparison with Jerry’s standard-setting Billy Flynn in the original cast recording.
Jerry Orbach oozed New York from every pore. He was actually declared a “living landmark” a few years ago, which is entirely appropriate since I’d wager that most non-Americans’ mental picture of “New York cop” features Lennie Briscoe front-and-center.
Rest in peace, dear Jerry. You entertained us all so well.
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2 comments

  1. Al Maviva

    The quintessential Jerry Orbach / Lenny Brisco moment on L&O was when they had the big Homicide crossover. Orbach is out doing interviews with Richard Belzer’s character, the introspective and wonky Munch. They pass by a graveyard in New York. Munch stops Brisco and says he wants to stop for a second, as his favorite poet, Dylan Thomas I think, is buried there. Brisco comes back, “Yeah? Well, better him than me.”
    Hah – the “rage, rage against the dying of the light” guy is buried there, and Brisco’s only comment, “better him than me.” Nice.
    I too am saddened by Jerry Orbach’s death. Nobody puts Jerry in a corner.

  2. Elaine

    Jerry will be missed. I remember someone saying that he played every father of a teenaged girl in “Dirty Dancing”.
    BTW I’ve always wondered if those off-the-cuff remarks of his in “Law & Order” were scripted or ad-libs.