(born October 28
) is an Emmy
-, Screen Actors Guild
-, and Golden Globe Award
-winning American actor
known for his role as Andy Sipowicz
, a gritty police detective in the television series NYPD Blue
Franz was born Dennis Franz Schlachta
in Chicago, Illinois
, the son of German immigrants Eleanor, a postal worker, and Franz Schlachta, who was a baker and postal worker. Franz is a graduate of Proviso East High School
(in Maywood, Illinois
) and Southern Illinois University Carbondale
. After graduating from college, Franz was drafted into the United States Army
. He served eleven months with the 82nd Airborne Division
Franz began his acting career at Chicago's famed Organic Theater Company
. Although he has in the past performed Shakespeare, his "look" led to his being typecast early in his career as a police officer. (By Franz' own count, the character of Detective Andy Sipowicz was his 27th role as a police officer). He has also guest-starred in shows such as The A-Team
. Other major roles were on the television series Hill Street Blues
in which he played two characters over the run of that show: Sal Benedetto and Norm Buntz. He starred in the
short-lived Beverly Hills Buntz
as the morally-questionable Norman Buntz.
Franz went on to win four Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue. The character of Sipowicz was ranked #23 on Bravo's 100 Greatest TV Characters list.
He starred as "Earl", the abusive husband, in the Dixie Chicks' music video "Goodbye Earl" and as Nathaniel Messinger in the 1998 film, City of Angels.