Dennis Franz

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Dennis Franz
Birth name Dennis Franz Schlacta
Born October 28, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Notable Roles Lt. Norman Buntz in Hill Street Blues
Detective Andy Sipowicz in NYPD Blue
Notable Episodes
Awards star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Dennis Franz is an American actor best known for his role in the crime drama NYPD Blue.



Born Dennis Franz Schlachta in Maywood, Chicago, his father was a German immigrant and both he and Franz's mother were postal workers. After leaving school, Franz studied for a degree in speech and theatre at Southern Illinois University. Immediately after graduating, he was drafted and enlisted in officer school, going on to do an 11-month tour of duty in Vietnam with a reconnaissance unit.

After returning home, he suffered from depression for a time and briefly worked as a postman and security guard. In 1972 he joined the Organic Theatre Company and performed with them both in Chicago and across the US. He appeared in several Chicago-based films, including Robert Altman's A Wedding before moving to Los Angeles, where he became a member of Altman's resident company.

He made his TV debut in Chicago Story in 1982, before going on to become a regular in projects of producer Steven Bochco, playing two different roles - unscrupulous Detective Sal Benedetto and streetwise Lt. Norman Buntz in popular cop series Hill Street Blues. Buntz also featured in a short-lived 1987 spin-off series, Beverly Hills Buntz. In 1993 Franz took on the role for which he is best-known, as Det. Andy Sipowicz, in highly successful TV cop series NYPD Blue. He stayed with the show all through its 12 seasons.

Although best-known as a television actor, Franz has also featured in a number of movies, including a number directed by Robert Altman and Brian de Palma, as well as Bruce Willis hit Die Hard 2: Die Harder and the 1998 City of Angels.

He married Joanie Zeck in 1982 and has two step-daughters.


Starring Roles

Series Role Year(s) Season(s)
Chicago Story Joe Gilland 1982 1
Bay City Blues Angelo Carbone 1983 1
Hill Street Blues Lt. Norman Buntz 1985–1987 6 7
Beverly Hills Buntz Private Investigator Norman Buntz 1987–1988 1
Nasty Boys Stan Krieger 1990 1
NYPD Blue Detective Andy Sipowicz 1993–2005 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Recurring Roles

Series Role Year(s) Season(s)
Hill Street Blues Detective Sal Benedetto 1983 3

Guest Starring Roles

Series Role Episode Airdate
The A-Team Sam Friendly 2x19 - Chopping Spree February 14, 1984
T.J. Hooker Andros Margolis 4x04 - Hardcore Connection November 3, 1984
Simon & Simon Frank Mahoney 4x14 - Almost Foolproof January 3, 1985
Hunter Sergeant Jackie Molinas 1x14 - The Snow Queen (1) March 23, 1985
Hunter Sergeant Jackie Molinas 1x15 - The Snow Queen (2) March 30, 1985
The A-Team Brooks 3x23 - Beverly Hills Assault April 9, 1985
Matlock Jack Brennert 3x08 - The Mayor (1) January 31, 1989
Matlock Jack Brennert 3x09 - The Mayor (2) February 7, 1989
Civil Wars Murray Seidelman 1X1 - Pilot November 20, 1991

Awards and Accolades

Primetime Emmy Awards

  • Won: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (1994, 1996, 1997, 1999)
  • Nominated: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (1995, 1998, 2000, 2001)

Golden Globe Awards

  • Won: Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Drama (1995)
  • Nominated: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV

Screen Actors Guild Awards

  • Won: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (1993, 1995)
  • Nominated: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002)