Dennis Franz

Dennis Franz Photo

Dennis Franz

Date of Birth: October 28, 1944

He will always be identified with Sal Benedetto, the beefy cop on-the-take in TV's Hill Street Blues, and N.Y.P.D. Blue, in which he plays virtually the same character. By the time he started playing the donut-enhanced detective on TV, he was already familiar with the role, having played a security guard in The Wedding and a cop in The Fury.

Franz has been named TV Guide's Villain of the Year and has been touted as a new kind of sex symbol, which comes as a big surprise to the overweight actor. But women know the magnetism of a powerful, testosterone-driven man, and melted when he proposed to Joanie Zeck at his 50th birthday party. For this, he was named one of The Ten Most Romantic Couples in People magazine in 1995.

Franz was born in Maywood, Illinois and earned a degree in Speech and Drama from Southern Illinois University. Afterwards, he went to Vietnam for nearly a year of intense fighting. He came back to Chicago and joined the Organic Theater for a production called Cops, acting along side his pal Joe Mantegna. He continued to play cops in Hollywood until he got the call from Steven Bochco to play Benedetto, which was a blessing as the name implies.

Bochco later invited Franz to play Detective Andy Sipowicz in N.Y.P.D. Blue. His character was scripted to die after the first episode, but Franz's talents were too huge to put down. He added a whole new dimension to police drama with his portrayal of an alcoholic in recovery, proving that his heart was the bigger than his kiester, which he exposed on the show on Thanksgiving Day in 1995.


City of Angels (1998)
Mighty Ducks The Movie: The Face-Off (1997) (voice) American Buffalo (1996)
The Player (1992)
Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990)
The Package (1989)
A Fine Mess (1986)
Body Double (1984)
Psycho II (1983)
Blow Out (1981)
Dressed to Kill (1980)
Popeye (1980)
A Perfect Couple (1979)
A Wedding (1978)
Remember My Name (1978)
Stony Island (1978)
The Fury (1978)