Dennis Franz (born October 28, 1944) is an American actor best 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 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. (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.