The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 6, 1996 · Page 44
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 44

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Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 6, 1996
Page:
Page 44
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Continued from previous page unprejudiced man. In my mother, I did see a prejudice. I thought it was odd, because I didn't see why she responded that way. It had the opposite effect on me. I started questioning her. I didn't think it was quite normal. I had black friends, and I thought I was getting an understanding of something my mother didn't have. The prejudice I saw in my mother I saw in other neighbors — then I began to see it on both sides. I might have had some of that in my past. I hope I've grown from that." What seems to haunt him most about his 1969 Vietnam combat experiences is the racial tension among the troops of that period. "This was the ugliest scene I've ever experienced. There was a real line between blacks and whites. You made your own rules. You didn't have to answer to people. And everyone was carrying loaded guns," he remembers. "There were times when we were all the same color— in battle. At other times, the racism really grew prevalent and ugly." Only days before he left Vietnam, he witnessed a brutal fight between black and white troops that left several hospitalized. "Here we've just made it through, it's supposed to be a time of celebration, and look what we've come out as. We haven't learned anything; we've regressed." ©1996 HJ. Heinz Co. Xt's imot for* cn^c*:rsrlboci;y; T JE1JELAJL. S1TE1A.K H.OVXIEt,S, Franz met his wife of I 1 /: years, Joanie, in a bar. She asked him to dance so she could escape a man who was bugging her. B ACK HOME, FRANZ got involved in Chicago theater before moving in 1978 to L.A., where he worked steadily. One night a woman in a bar was being bugged by some man. She asked Franz to dance to get away from the guy, and they began dating. With two daughters from a previous marriage, she wasn't in a hurry to get married, and neither was Franz. Twelve years later, Franz turned 50 and invited 225 of his closest friends and relatives to a party. "I felt overcome with emotion. I said, 'Joanie, would you marry me?' and the place went up for grabs." On their honeymoon in Italy, some Italian cops knocked on the door, and asked: "Sipowicz? New York Police Department?" (the name of the show in Italy). "I said, 'Yeah, that's me.' After that, we could go anywhere." But it's not really him. "I am more passive than Sipowicz. He lets people know his honest opinion of them on the spot. I am the kind who will have his best arguments and retorts in the car on the way home. He certainly has a harder time getting in touch with his feelings than I do," Franz says. By all accounts, the actor is more at peace than the detective, better able to leave his work behind. "Dennis aspires to nothing so much as an unencumbered round of golf on a daily basis," Milch says. That's not quite all; he also aspires to a big film career, which may be within his grasp. But Franz is under no illusions about the trade-offs. "I often watch an episode and say, 'If they can do this in eight days, why did I just pay $7.50 for this piece of junk they spent four months and $40 million making?' Something is out of whack with this business." Now that's a little more like the Andy Sipowicz we know, sticking it to the fancy Hollywood types. If he's not careful, Franz may end up as the crusty conscience of the place — a nice guy who knows when it's time to cut the crap. Book him, if you haven't yet. The rest of the TV audience is already on the case. Ea Jonathan Alter Is a senior editor at Newwe/t Hit last story far USA WEEKEND was <m baseball's record twine-run summer. 0 USA WEEKEND • Oct. 4-6.1W6 creator D*vM Mich, com like Franz's •re tragic figures.'

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