Franz at a rehearsal for the 1994 Emmy Awards
|Born||Dennis Franz Schlachta
October 28, 1944
Maywood, Illinois, U.S.
|Residence||Coeur d'Alene, Idaho|
|Spouse(s)||Joanie Zeck (1995 - present)|
Dennis Franz Schlachta (//; born October 28, 1944), known professionally as Dennis Franz, is an American actor best known for his role as hard-boiled NYPD Detective Andy Sipowicz in the ABC television series NYPD Blue (1993–2005), a role that earned him a Golden Globe Award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and four Primetime Emmy Awards. He also portrayed Lt. Norman Buntz in the similar NBC series Hill Street Blues (1985–1987) and its short-lived spinoff, Beverly Hills Buntz (1987–1988).
Franz has had prominent supporting roles in several feature films, notably playing the defense attorney for Sherman McCoy (Tom Hanks) in Brian De Palma's 1990 film version of Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities.
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. He has two older sisters, Heidi (born 1935) and Marlene (born 1938). 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 and the 101st in Vietnam.
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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 28th 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).
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.
On May 11, 2001, Franz was a contestant on a celebrity edition of the hit television game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, winning $US250,000 for his charity.
Franz also was a commercial spokesman for Nextel in the early 2000s. The concept was that Franz "refused" to do the commercials, saying they were not something he did.
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. It would be his last film as he spent the final years of his career on NYPD Blue.
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. He made a special appearance at the 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards.
Franz has been married to Joanie Zeck, whom he met in 1982, since 1995. He is the stepfather of Zeck's two daughters, Tricia and Krista, from a previous marriage.
|1978||Remember My Name||Franks|
|1978||Stony Island||Jerry Domino|
|1979||A Perfect Couple||Costa|
|1980||Dressed to Kill||Detective Marino|
|1981||Blow Out||Manny Karp|
|1983||Psycho II||Warren Toomey|
|1986||A Fine Mess||Phil|
|1989||The Package||Lt. Milan Delich|
|1990||Die Hard 2||Captain Carmine Lorenzo|
|1991||The Sid Story||Sid|
|1992||In the Line of Duty: Siege at Marion||Bob Bryant|
|1992||The Player||Dennis Franz|
|1996||Healing the Hate||Host|
|1996||American Buffalo||Don Dubrow|
|1997||Mighty Ducks the Movie: The First Face-Off||Captain Klegghorn|
|1998||City of Angels||Nathaniel Messinger|
|1979||Bleacher Bums||Zig||Television movie|
|1980||Chicago Story||Officer Joe Gilland||Television movie|
|1982||Chicago Story||Officer Joe Gilland||13 episodes|
|1983||Hill Street Blues||Det. Sal Benedetto||5 episodes|
|1983||Bay City Blues||Angelo Carbone||8 episodes|
|1984||Hardcastle & McCormick||Tony Boutros||Episode: "Did You See the One That Got Away?"|
|1984||The A-Team||Sam Friendly||Episode: "Chopping Spree"|
|1984||Riptide||Earl Bertrane||Episode: "Double Your Pleasure"|
|1984||E/R||The Boyfriend||Episode: "The Sister"|
|1984||T.J. Hooker||Andros Margolis||Episode: "Hardcore Connection"|
|1985–1987||Hill Street Blues||Lt. Norman Buntz||44 episodes|
|1985||Simon & Simon||Frank Mahoney||Episode: "Almost Foolproof"|
|1985||The A-Team||Brooks||Episode: "Beverly Hills Assault"|
|1985||Hardcastle & McCormick||Joe Hayes||Episode: "There Goes the Neighborhood"|
|1985||MacGruder and Loud||Roche||Episode: "On the Wire"|
|1985||Hunter||Sgt. Jackie Molinas||2 episodes|
|1985||Street Hawk||Inspector Frank Menlo||Episode: "Female of the Species"|
|1985||Scene of the Crime||Pat Grandy||Episode: "A Vote for Murder"|
|1985||Deadly Messages||Detective Max Lucas||Television movie|
|1987||Tales from the Hollywood Hills||Louie||Television movie|
|1987–1988||Beverly Hills Buntz||Norman Buntz||13 episodes|
|1989||Kiss Shot||Max Fleischer||Television movie|
|1989||Matlock||Jack Brennert||2 episodes|
|1989||Christine Cromwell||Detective Grainger||Episode: "Easy Come, Easy Go"|
|1990||Nasty Boys||Lt. Stan Krieger||12 episodes|
|1990||Nasty Boys, Part 2: Lone Justice||Lt. Stan Krieger||Television movie|
|1991||NYPD Mounted||Tony Spampatta||Unsold TV pilot|
|1991||Civil Wars||Murray Seidelman||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1993–2005||NYPD Blue||Detective Andy Sipowicz||261 episodes|
|1994||The Simpsons||Himself (voice)||Episode: "Homer Badman"|
|1994||Moment of Truth: Caught in the Crossfire||Gus Payne||Television movie|
|1995||Texas Justice||Richard Haynes||Television movie|
|1996–1997||Mighty Ducks||Captain Klegghorn||17 episodes|
Awards and nominations
- SMOKE 03/98 - Dennis Franz
- Gerard Gilbert (8 July 2002). "TV Heroes: #6: Dennis Franz". The Independent.
- News-Record.com: Archives Search: 01 results for search "( (unq:"0EAF85A3C033421C") ) "
- Dennis Franz Biography (1944-)
- Utterback, Wayne (2007-04-19). "Emprace the 'Dark': Author, SIUC alumnus reprints book about Strip". Daily Egyptian. p. 7.
- "Dennis Franz". The New York Times. New York, New York: The New York Times Company. 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- "Dennis Franz and Joanie Zeck." People Magazine, February 13, 1995