Jerry Orbach dies at 69

Dec 29, 2004 by Ian Evans

To some people Jerry Orbach was Lenny Briscoe, the wisecracking detective who appeared on Law & Order for 12 seasons. To others, he was Baby’s father in Dirty Dancing. To yet another group he was a celebrated star of the musical stage and a Broadway legend. TV, movies, or stage, Jerry Orbach was a star. Orbach has died from prostate cancer at the age of 69.

Orbach, who had recently left Law & Order in order to fight his cancer, was to take on a less demanding schedule by making appearances in the upcoming Law & Order: Trial By Jury.

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

Orbach’s stage success included a string of Broadway hits including Carnival, Promises, Promises, 42nd Street and Chicago. He was also part of the original cast of the Off-Broadway hit The Fantasticks and sang the signature tune “Try to Remember.” As a tribute to one of their own, Broadway theatres dimmed their marquees for one minute before Wednesday’s curtain time.

Orbach’s film work included Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors, Dirty Dancing, Prince of the City and the animated hit Beauty and the Beast, where he voiced the candle, Lumiere.