Monday, August 02, 2010


The race for 366 is heating up, and I am beginning to realize just how many people I have skipped over in my haste to churn out a hero of the day.
The fellow above is one Jerry Orbach, and he was born on October 20th, 1935 in New York City, making him the third hero of the day born on the 20th of October. I guess if I hadn't been so lazy back in October, I could have done all three of them then, but I was and I didn't. He was born the son of a greeting card manufacturer, and a vaudeville performer.
He got his start in musical theatre, (and even won a Tony) but it is for the role he is playing in the above picture that makes him number amongst our heroes. For 12 years he was Detective Lennie Briscoe, the wise cracking member of the 27th Precinct that helped bring criminals to justice on the original "Law and Order." You can see the 25 years of crime fighting etched onto his face, and I debated on whether to make Briscoe or Orbach the hero. I figure Orbach wins out by a whisker, because I just can't imagine anyone else playing Briscoe. It was Briscoe that always provided the quip that closed the opening scene where the crime is first discovered, and he had a sense of timing that was impeccable.
Orbach was so popular that a part of the street in the neighbor he lived was renamed "Jerry Orbach Way." I doubt they will be naming any streets after me or posting any decrees of mine when I cash in my chips. Also, the day after his death, the marquees on Broadway were dimmed in mourning, one of the highest honors of the American theatre world. Pretty high honours for some kid from the Bronx. So, for playing Detective Lennie Briscoe with just the right amount of world-weariness, and wise ass, Jerry Orbach (October 20th, 1935-December 28th, 2004, at the age of 69 of prostate cancer), you are my (353rd) hero of the day.

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