Even though the years he spent playing wisecracking Detective Lennie Briscoe will loom large in the obituaries and television tributes this week, I first got to know Jerry's talents from a recording of The Fantasticks I received as a birthday present when I was in high school. As El Gallo, or the narrator of that long-running off-Broadway classic, he was the first person to bring life to the show's signature song, "Try to Remember."
Orbach was never a huge star in the way we think of celebrities today, but instead was one of those rare actors who did so many things across film, television and theater that it was hard to imagine someone like him ever dying.
I always got the impression that no matter what part he played - a theatrical director in "42nd Street," a mobster named Jack Rosenthal in "Crimes and Misdemeanors," or a talking candlelabra in "Beauty and the Beast" - the real Jerry Orbach was never too far below the surface. I'm sure others feel the same way. How else can you explain the affection pouring out of all corners of the Internet today for a 69-year-old actor?
Goodbye, Jerry. You are already missed.Posted by Doug at December 29, 2004 03:13 PM