Dennis Franz Schlachta
October 28, 1944
Maywood, Illinois, U.S.
Dennis Franz Schlachta (//; born October 28, 1944), known professionally as Dennis Franz, is a retired American actor best known for his role as 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 two different characters on the similar NBC series Hill Street Blues (1983, 1985–1987) and its short-lived spinoff, Beverly Hills Buntz (1987–1988).
Franz was born October 28, 1944, in Maywood, Illinois, the son of German immigrants Eleanor (née Mueller), a postal worker, and Franz Ferdinand Schlachta, who was a baker and postal worker. He has two older sisters, Heidi (born 1935) and Marlene (born 1938).
Franz is a 1962 graduate of Proviso East High School in Maywood. During his high school years, he was active in baseball, football and swimming. He attended Wilbur Wright College and Southern Illinois University Carbondale, graduating from the latter with a bachelor's degree in speech and theater in 1968.
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 cop. (By Franz's own count, the character of Andy Sipowicz was his 28th role as a police officer). He 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 the show. Franz first played the role of the corrupt Detective Sal Benedetto in the 1982-1983 season. Benedetto eventually commits suicide when a large-scale scam he was running fails. Franz returned to the series in 1985 as main character Lt. Norman 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 1996, while still on NYPD Blue, Franz appeared in the Disney cartoon Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series in which he provided the voice of Captain Klegghorn, the commanding officer and head of the Anaheim Police Department. The series ran from September 1996 to January 1997.
In 1994, Franz made a cameo appearance as himself in The Simpsons episode "Homer Badman", in which Homer is accused of sexually harassing a babysitter and 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 $250,000 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 was his final film role to date.
After the end of the show in 2005, Franz retired from acting to focus on his private life. He has told the New York Post he would be interested in returning to acting if given the right opportunity. He and his wife spend their summers in their lake home in northern Idaho. In 2012, he spoke of wartime experiences and post-war trauma of veterans at a Memorial Day Concert. (He spoke in the first person but it was not his own story.) He and his former NYPD Blue co-star Jimmy Smits made a surprise appearance at the 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards, presenting the award for Outstanding Drama Series to Game of Thrones.
In 1995, Franz married Joanie Zeck, whom he met in 1982. He is the stepfather of Zeck's two daughters from a previous marriage.
|1965||Mickey One||Minor Role in Dressing Room||Uncredited|
|1978||Remember My Name||Franks|
|1978||The Fury||Bob Eggleston|
|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|
|1983||Scarface||Immigration Officer||Voice, uncredited|
|1986||A Fine Mess||Phil|
|1989||The Package||Lt. Milan Delich|
|1990||Die Hard 2||Captain Carmine Lorenzo|
|1991||The Sid Story||Sid||Video short|
|1996||American Buffalo||Don Dubrow|
|1997||Mighty Ducks the Movie: The First Face-Off||Captain Klegghorn||Voice|
|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 and 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 and 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"|
|1992||In the Line of Duty: Siege at Marion||Bob Bryant||Television movie|
|1993–2005||NYPD Blue||Detective/Sergeant Andy Sipowicz||261 episodes|
|1994||The Simpsons||Himself playing Homer Simpson||Voice, Episode: "Homer Badman"|
|1994||Moment of Truth: Caught in the Crossfire||Gus Payne||Television movie|
|1995||Texas Justice||Richard Haynes||Television movie|
|1996||Healing the Hate||Host||Television movie|
|1996–1997||Mighty Ducks||Captain Klegghorn||Voice, 17 episodes|
|1998||Sesame Street||Himself||Episode: "Monster Day"|
Awards and nominations
- Malone, Michael (March 1998). "Dennis Franz: True Blue". Smoke. Archived from the original on March 30, 2009.
- Gilbert, Gerard (July 8, 2002). "TV Heroes: #6: Dennis Franz". The Independent.
- Pressley, Leigh (June 4, 1994). "Good Cop/Bad Cop". Greensboro News & Record. p. D1.
- Dennis Franz Biography (1944-) Film Reference
- Utterback, Wayne (April 19, 2007). "Emprace the 'Dark': Author, SIUC alumnus reprints book about Strip". Daily Egyptian. p. 7.
- Hal Erickson (2015). "Dennis Franz". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on May 5, 2015. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
- Starr, Michael (September 18, 2015). "'NYPD Blue' legend Dennis Franz loves life off the Hollywood grid". New York Post. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- National Memorial Day Concert 2012 PBS.
- "Dennis Franz and Joanie Zeck" People, February 13, 1995
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