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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Try to remember...

It seems somehow wrong to be saddened by one elderly man's death in the midst of all the tragic news still coming out of South East Asia... but saddened I am.

Jerry Orbach died today at the age of 69.

Most of you probably knew him for the role of Detective Lenny Briscoe which he played to jaded perfection on Law & Order.  But he was also an amazingly talented singer and dancer with over 20 years of leading man roles in musical comedies on Broadway, as well as many film roles to his credit.  He even did the voice for the Candelabra in the Disney film 'Beauty and the Beast' in which he sang 'Be our guest'.

What most people don't realize is that he was a member of the original cast of the long running off-off Broadway hit 'The Fantasticks'.  In that role he sang a song which perfectly sums up my present feelings; sadness at his passing... but gratitude that I was around to experience his talent:

"Try To Remember"

Try to remember the kind of September
when life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
when grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
when you were a tender and callow fellow,
Try to remember and if you remember the follow.
 
Try to remember when life was so tender
that no one wept except the willow.
Try to remember when life was so tender that
dreams were kept beside your pillow.
Try to remember when life was so tender that
love was an ember about to billow.
Try to remember and if you remember then follow.
 
Deep in December it's nice to remember
altho you know the snow will follow.
Deep in December it's nice to remember
without the hurt the heart is hollow.
Deep in December it's nice to remember
the fire of September that made us mellow.
Deep in December our hearts should remember and follow.

220_1_1

Posted by David Bogner on December 29, 2004 | Permalink

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Much as I hate to admit it, the role that comes to mind for me is playing the father in "Dirty Dancing."

Posted by: Jack | Dec 30, 2004 2:43:31 AM

David,
I was making challahs at work when I heard, and I had to stop. I remember him from Law & Order, yes, and I was sad when he left this year, but I have the benefit of all my mother's Broadway knowledge! He was an amazing actor, and will be missed.

Posted by: Faye | Dec 30, 2004 3:01:08 AM

I didn't realize he played Lumiere! My kids have probably watched Beauty and the Beast more than any other movie we own. It's a very well worn tape. My wife loved him in Law & Order. You actually inspired me to write a short tribute to his work on my blog. I gave you credit for the Lumiere surprise. Thanks.

By the way, in my book 69 is very young. It's quite sad. I have patients in their 80s who are healthy and active.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Dec 30, 2004 3:10:35 AM

Thank you, David. That song is perfect. I've always liked Jerry Orbach and am sad he's no longer with us.

You're right, Doctor Bean, 69 is pretty young, especially for someone who seemed to be so vital.

He will be missed.

Posted by: Carol | Dec 30, 2004 6:21:25 AM

Don't forget his first rate work in "Crimes and Misdemeanors."
I will miss him as well. There is a gorgeous recording out there of Orbach singing "About a Quarter to Nine." I used to hear it on the old WNEW AM. Haunting and lovely. He was defintely the last of a breed.

Posted by: jordan | Dec 30, 2004 7:39:51 AM

Orbach was also the original Billy Flynn in "Chicago" (the Richard Gere role in the movie) back in 1975. By all accounts a lovely man (an online friend of mine was a neighbor of his for several years) and a class act.

Posted by: efrex | Dec 30, 2004 3:50:29 PM

I felt the same way. Oh the tsunami, terrible, thousands dead! But Jerry Orbach? NOOOOOO!!!!!

Posted by: Fran | Dec 30, 2004 5:52:58 PM

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