Dennis Franz

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Dennis Franz
Dennis Franz (1994).jpg
Franz at a rehearsal for the 1994 Emmy Awards
Born Dennis Franz Schlachta
(1944-10-28) October 28, 1944 (age 74)
Maywood, Illinois, United States
Residence Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Occupation Actor
Years active 1978–2005
Spouse(s) Joanie Zeck (1995 - present)
Children two step-children

Dennis Franz Schlachta (/frɑːnz/; born October 28, 1944) is an American actor best known for his role as a Hard-boiled NYPD Detective Andy Sipowicz in the ABC television series NYPD Blue.

Early life

Franz was born in Maywood, Illinois, the son of German immigrants[1][2][3] Eleanor, a postal worker, and Franz Schlachta, who was a baker and postal worker.[4] Franz is a graduate of Proviso East High School (in Maywood), Wilbur Wright College and Southern Illinois University Carbondale.[5] After graduating from college, Franz was drafted into the United States Army. He served eleven months with the 82nd Airborne Division in Vietnam.[6]


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, and before Franz got in the hot seat, they have to do two fastest finger questions, because nobody, not even Franz, got the first one right.

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.[7]



Year Title Role Notes
1965 Mickey One N/A Uncredited
1978 Remember My Name Franks
1978 The Fury Bob
1978 A Wedding Koons
1978 Stony Island Jerry Domino
1979 A Perfect Couple Costa
1979 Bleacher Bums Zig Television movie
1980 Dressed to Kill Detective Marino
1980 Popeye Spike
1980 Chicago Story Officer Joe Gilland Television movie
1981 Blow Out Manny Karp
1983 Psycho II Warren Toomey
1983 Scarface Immigration Officer Uncredited
1984 Body Double Rubin
1985 Deadly Messages Detective Max Lucas Television movie
1985 Runaway Train Cop Uncredited
1986 A Fine Mess Phil
1987 Tales from the Hollywood Hills Louie Television movie
1989 Kiss Shot Max Fleischer Television movie
1989 The Package Lt. Milan Delich
1990 Die Hard 2 Captain Carmine Lorenzo
1990 Nasty Boys, Part 2: Lone Justice Lt. Stan Krieger Television movie
1991 NYPD Mounted Tony Spampatta
1991 The Sid Story Sid
1992 In the Line of Duty: Siege at Marion Bob Bryant
1994 Moment of Truth: Caught in the Crossfire Gus Payne Television movie
1995 Texas Justice Richard Haynes Television movie
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


Year Title Role Notes
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"
1987–1988 Beverly Hills Buntz Norman Buntz 13 episodes
1989 Matlock Jack Brennert 2 episodes
1989 Christine Cromwell Detective Grainger Episode: "Easy Come, Easy Go"
1990 Nasty Boys Lt. Stan Krieger 12 episodes
1991 Civil Wars Murray Seidelman Episode: "Pilot"
1993–2005 NYPD Blue Detective Andy Sipowicz 261 episodes
1994 The Simpsons Himself Episode: "Homer Badman"
1996–1997 Mighty Ducks Captain Klegghorn 17 episodes

Awards and nominations


  1. SMOKE 03/98 - Dennis Franz
  2. Gerard Gilbert (8 July 2002). "TV Heroes: #6: Dennis Franz". The Independent.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Archives Search: 01 results for search "( (unq:"0EAF85A3C033421C") ) "
  4. Dennis Franz Biography (1944-)
  5. Utterback, Wayne (2007-04-19). "Emprace the 'Dark': Author, SIUC alumnus reprints book about Strip". Daily Egyptian. p. 7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Dennis Franz". The New York Times. New York, New York: The New York Times Company. 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Dennis Franz and Joanie Zeck." People Magazine, February 13, 1995

External links