2, 2005 --
is a scene in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" where
George Bailey, played by James Stewart, is told by his father,
played by Samuel Hinds, that he was "born older."
I was saddened to hear a radio report of the death of Jerry Orbach, and also
surprised that he was only 69 years old. Perhaps, like George Bailey, it is
just that he was born older, a thought not discouraged by his distniguished
theatre, films and television of so many years' standing.
I saw Mr. Orbach on stage only once -- in "Carnival," the musical
based on the movie "Lili." Some 40 years after "Carnival" opened,
I happened to spot Mr. Orbach in the Inwood section of Manahattan, on location
with "Law & Order" miles north of midtown.
I hastily purchased a disposable camera, and, getting back to the set, shouted
a compliment about his work in "Carnival." Mr. Orbach walked over,
took the camera
from me and, handing it to an assistant director, asked her to take a picture
of the two of us, saying, "We go back a long ways."
That picture and a few others appeared in The Voice, a now-defunct weekly that
was published in Winsted, CT -- yup, Ralph Nader's hometown. (Mr. Nader's writing
also appeared in The Voice.)
One year later, I spotted "Law & Order" on location in the Riverdale
section of The Bronx, and got another photo of Mr. Orbach, with Jesse L. Martin,
Voice. (This photo is on-line. Google "Jerry Orbach Winsted" to click
The Voice website for this photo -- along with others of that second "Law & Order" on-location
Sam Waterston's eulogy at the funeral service for Mr. Orbach has been widely
reported. The reports I have seen did not include Mr. Waterston's observation
there was no wall between Jerry Orbach and cast, crew -- or fans. I, of course,
learned this in way-upper Manhattan, in February 2001.
And now, nearly four years lster, on the sad occsion of our loss of Jerry Orbach,
Mr. Waterston prompts this fine-tuning of the message of Federalist 57 -- that
in our society there isn't supposed to be a wall between our leaders and us.
Jerry Orbach's Funeral on Dec. 31 -- Law & Order's
Sam Waterston (Jack McCoy), S. Epatha Merkerson (Lt. Anita
Van Buren), followed by Chris Noth, formerly Det. Mike