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Orbach refused to let cancer stop him

Actor continued to work during his chemotherapy
/ Source: The Associated Press

In his final days, Jerry Orbach refused to let cancer stop him from portraying police Detective Lennie Briscoe on NBC’s “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” the show’s executive producer said.

Orbach, who died of prostate cancer in December, continued to work even while getting chemotherapy every two weeks, Walon Green told TV Guide for its Feb. 27 issue.

Green said he needed to make some changes for Orbach’s final scene because the actor had weakened to the point where he could not speak in his normal voice.

“He was down to a whisper,” Green said. “So we had everybody else in the scene whisper.”

Green said the 69-year-old Orbach refused to be written out of scenes when Green tried to lighten his workload.

“He’d call and be upset and want to know why I’d taken him out” of a scene, Green said. “He’d want the scene back. He was like the Energizer bunny. He wanted to keep going.”

“Law & Order: Trial by Jury” previews Thursday (10 p.m. EST), with another episode Friday (10 p.m. EST) in what will be the series’ regular slot. The show is the latest spinoff in the “Law & Order” franchise.