Dennis Franz (born October 28, 1944) is an American actor best known for his role as Andy Sipowicz, a hard-boiled police detective, in the television series NYPD Blue. He previously appeared as Lt. Norman Buntz on Hill Street Blues, and earlier played Detective Benedetto on the same show. Franz was born Dennis Franz Schlachta in Maywood, 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) 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 in Vietnam. Franz began his acting career at Chicago's 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.
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