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‘L&O’s’ Jerry Orbach Dies at 69

Dec 29, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Jerry Orbach, whose 12-year role as wisecracking “Law & Order” Det. Lennie Briscoe capped a long and varied career, died in a Manhattan hospital Tuesday night of prostate cancer. He was 69.

Mr. Orbach had been diagnosed with and treated for the disease last spring after leaving the original show in producer Dick Wolf’s gold-mine TV franchise to work part time on third spinoff “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” which is expected to debut on NBC later this season.

A spokeswoman for “L&O” said Wednesday that Mr. Orbach had shot appearances in two or three episodes of “Trial by Jury.”

“I’m immensely saddened by the passing of not only a friend and colleague, but a legendary figure of 20th century show business,” Mr. Wolf said in a statement. “He was one of the most honored performers of his generation. His loss is irreplaceable.”

Mr. Orbach played the narrator in the original cast of “The Fantasticks,” which was an off-off-Broadway staple for more than 40 years. His Broadway song-and-dance career earned him a Tony Award for “Promises, Promises,” and he picked up an Emmy nomination in 1990 for a guest shot on “The Golden Girls.”

The spokeswoman said Mr. Orbach’s family plans a private service, but a memorial is expected to be scheduled in several weeks.

Contributions can be made to Prostate Cancer, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Box 27106, New York, NY 10087.