Wednesday, December 29, 2004

R.I.P. Jerry Orbach

I’m not a regular viewer of LAW & ORDER, but I enjoyed many of the episodes I watched because of the work of Jerry Orbach. Sadly, I never had the opportunity to see him on stage, although Rosemarie did in a revival of 42nd STREET. His musical performances (including his voice work in Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) and his epic run on L&O will no doubt be his legacy. But I’d like to single out a few of his other turns that might be overlooked.

The first time I saw Jerry Orbach was in 1986’s F/X. He played the hale Mafia kingpin whose faked death sets the story in motion. F/X was one of those movies I watched over and over in high school, and Orbach’s sly performance was a big part of its charm. He’s also terrific in PRINCE OF THE CITY, playing an undercover cop running a business as part of a sting which he manages to turn into a going concern. And for many years, Orbach was the record-holder on CELEBRITY JEOPARDY!, donating his winnings to the pet charity Bide-A-Wee. Quite a career.

Miscellaneous: Link

The Village Voice’s year-end film issue is, as usual, an embarrassment of riches. My favorite piece is the defense of the orphan picks, in which critics participating in the poll justify selections (BEYOND THE SEA, the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake) that are theirs alone.