Dennis Franz (Actor) - NYPD Blue
Dennis Franz 1
Updated: 9/19/23

Name: Dennis Franz

Birth Name: Dennis Franz Schlacta

Born: October 28, 1944 in Maywood, Illinois, USA

Claim To Fame: Dennis Franz is a retired American actor best known for his role as NYPD Detective Andy Sipowicz in the ABC television series NYPD Blue (1993-2005), a role that earned him a Golden Globe Award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and four Primetime Emmy Awards.

Family Life: In 1995, Franz married Joanie Zeck; they met in 1982. He is the stepfather of Zeck's two daughters, Tricia and Krista, from her previous marriage.

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Info: The son of Eleanor, a postal worker, and Franz Ferdinand Schlachta, who was a baker and postal worker.

He has two older sisters, Heidi Deigl and Marlene Schraut.

Of German and Polish ancestry.

A 1962 graduate of Proviso East High School in Maywood. During his high school years, he was active in baseball, football and swimming.

Attended Wilbur Wright College and Southern Illinois University Carbondale, graduating from the latter with a bachelor's degree in speech and theater in 1968.

After graduating from college, Franz was drafted into the United States Army. He served eleven months with the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam.

He spoke of wartime experiences and post-war trauma of veterans at a Memorial Day Concert in 2012.

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Trivia: Franz began his acting career at Chicago's Organic Theater Company.

Was one of the authors of the play "Bleacher Bums" premiered by Chicago's Organic Theater Company in 1977 and performed in New York the following year, with Franz creating in it the role of Zig.

One of his major roles was on the television series Hill Street Blues, in which he played two characters over the run of the show. Franz first played the role of the corrupt Detective Sal Benedetto in the 1982-1983 season. He later returned to the series in 1985 as main character Lt. Norman Buntz, remaining until the show's end in 1987. He also starred in the short-lived Beverly Hills Buntz as the same character.

Franz went on to win four Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue from 1993 to 2005.

The character of Sipowicz was ranked No. 23 on Bravo's 100 Greatest TV Characters list.

Andy Sipowicz, Franz's character on NYPD Blue (1993), was ranked #31 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time".

He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Television at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 19, 1999.

In 2000, Franz starred as Earl, an abusive husband, in the Dixie Chicks' music video "Goodbye Earl".

In 2001, he competed on the celebrity edition of the hit television game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, winning $250,000 for his charity, the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance.

After the end of the show in 2005, Franz retired from acting to focus on his private life.

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Where Are They Now: Franz did indeed retire from acting, although he told the New York Post he would be interested in returning to acting if given the right opportunity. Hopefully, we will see him on the screen again.


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