Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Inaugural Jerry Orbach Memorial Post

On this day in 2004, the actor Jerry Orbach died.

When I first decided to write this post, I entertained the idea of trying to make a lame pun in the title; something along the lines of 'Jerry Bomb', 'Sweet Jerry Pie', or 'Pop My Jerry' . However, I decided that was tacky and disrespectful, and that people would get the idea that I thought the man's death was a joke. Which, for the record, I don't. Rather I was actually quite upset when he died. I still remember the where I was when I found out Jerry Orbach had succumbed to prostate cancer, (it has the cultural significance to me of the old "Where were you when you found out when JFK had been assassinated?" for the baby-boomers). Me and my friend Natasha were walking down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh on New Years' Eve, and we went past a copy of USA Today outside a newsagent. I couldn't believe my eyes when I happened to glance upon one of the headlines which informed me that my beloved Jerry, (a.k.a the only reason I still enjoyed 'Law & Order'), had gone to the beat in the sky. Prime time will never be the same.

I only really saw two of his movies, being Woody Allen's 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' and, of course, 'Dirty Dancing', in both of which he was great (although I probably would have enjoyed watching him in 'Waterworld' or 'The Transporter' or 'Plan Nine From Outer Space'). I just found out that he also played Lumiere in Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast', so next time you get stoned and watch it for shits and giggles, keep an ear out for his distinctive voice! One of his television roles that I enjoyed was a recurring part on 'Murder, She Wrote'. He brought a certain humanity and darkness to the usual cast, which was sorely lacking (I mean, how bright and sunny could a woman possibly be when she writes murder-mysteries for a living and then solves "real" murder-mysteries in her spare time?! Not as fucking cheery as Jessica Fletcher, I'm willing to bet). In the show he had such classic lines as "I've never hit a dame in my life, but you're itching to be the first." I'll always remember that one. And then, of course, he toiled for years on 'Law & Order' as the memorable Lennie Briscoe. He was the only character with any goddamn personality on that show! (At least, at the time when I was watching it.) Dennis Farina's Fontana will NEVER replace him, and in fact I stopped watching it after Orbach left, (although that may have had something to with the the fact that I started to get bored with the formula...) What more can I say about Briscoe that hasn't already been said?! Not much (plus, I have to stop writing because Svet is about to take me out for gelati! Woo!)


Goodbye, Jerry. Typecast though you may have been, your gruff, cynical but warmhearted, old-fashioned, man's man schtick will be missed by many. Especially me.

Here's lookin' at you, kid. 1935-2004


Blogger ManicLovely said...

Yay now do that cool emo post! Not that this one wasn't (ahem). Can I use you internet sometime soon? :)

6:40 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Has it been a year already? I miss Jerry too. He was a fine actor, and whether spouting hard-bitten gallows humor or playing a dancing candlestick he had gravitas, dammit. And that's something too often absent from our screens these days.

I still enjoy watching L&O, mind you, if only for Sam Waterson's self-righteous hissy fits. One day he'll get so indignant he explodes!

10:52 PM  

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