George Dzundza

Active - 1972 - 2010  |   Born - Jul 19, 1945 in Rosenheim, Germany  |   Genres - Drama, Thriller

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

George Dzundza's face slowly sank into the collective subconscious of American culture after nearly 30 years before the cameras. Audiences may be hard-pressed to name him, though his familiar face is like that of a distant cousin one has never met but keeps stumbling across while thumbing through old family photo albums. From his turn as an enraged, cheated-on spouse in the horror classic Salem's Lot (1979) to a recent turn as Robert De Niro's partner in 2002's City by the Sea, you can't get away from Dzundza once you've put a name to the face. Aggressively pursued by the president of the Stagers Society (who threatened to have him expelled lest he audition for an upcoming production) at college orientation, a nervous Dzundza hastily agreed and quickly landed the part. A quick rise through the theater circuit soon landed Dzundza some prime supporting roles on the small screen, and it wasn't long until he was gaining exposure on such diverse shows as Starsky and Hutch and The Waltons. In 1975, Dzundza made his film debut with a role in The Happy Hooker, and through the remainder of that decade and well into the '80s he frequently alternated between television and film. Following appearances in The Deer Hunter and Salem's Lot, Dzundza was cast as the lead in the short-lived sitcom Open All Night, and through the remainder of the decade he landed roles in such high-profile theatrical releases as Best Defense (1984), No Mercy (1986), and No Way Out (1987). It wasn't until 1990 that Dzundza would make a return to weekly television, though his role as Sgt. Max Greevey on Law & Order certainly made up for lost time. Even if he did leave the series after only one season, the decision ultimately served him well and his feature career subsequently flourished. As Dzundza's career advanced into the '90s, it also evolved and found him branching out by lending his voice to such animated television efforts as Superman and Batman: Gotham Knights. A short-lived stint opposite Christina Applegate followed with Jesse in 1998, and after moving back to features with roles in Instinct (1999) and City by the Sea, Dzundza settled nicely into the role of Father Tom "Grizz" Grzelak in the popular television series Hack in 2002.

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  • Lived his first few years in displaced persons camps with his parents who were forced into factory labor by the Nazis.
  • Lived in Amsterdam with his family for a few years before they immigrated to the United States in 1956.
  • Appeared in Broadway productions of Legend, The Ritz and Mert & Phil in the 1970s.
  • Was awarded the Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup for Best Actor in 1983 for Streamers, sharing it with five of his costars.
  • Was an original cast member of the popular NBC series Law & Order, but left the show after the first season.
  • Voiced several characters on Batman: The Animated Series as well as the character Perry White in Superman: The Animated Series.