Dann Florek was a working actor for 15 years, on stage, in movies, and on television before he became a television star on Law and Order. Born in Flat Rock, MI (near Detroit) in 1950, he was a physics major at Eastern Michigan University until he discovered his affinity for acting and theater. He moved to New York in the early 1970s and became a member of The Acting Company at The Juilliard School. Florek's New York theater credits included work in productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Love's Labour's Lost, and Death of a Salesman. He later performed in many productions staged at the La Jolla Playhouse and the Old Globe Theater in San Diego. Florek's film credits include Sweet Liberty, Hard Rain, Angel Heart, and The Flintstones, and he has made appearances on NYPD Blue, Wings, The Pretender, and The Practice. Additionally, he played Abraham Lincoln in the short-lived Fox Network series The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer. It was as Dave Meyer on L.A. Law that Florek first came to the attention of television viewers, but it was his four seasons on Law and Order that made him a star. He became a familiar and popular actor as Lieutenant (and later Captain) Donald Cragen, the head of the detective squad on whose investigations the series focuses from week to week. Florek also directed several episodes of the series after leaving the cast of the show in 1993, and is an active member of the Directors Guild of America. In 1999, he joined the cast of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, reprising and greatly expanding his role of Captain Cragen, now head of a detective unit specifically assigned to the investigation of sex crimes. Equally skilled at comedy and drama (although more familiar for his work in the latter), Florek is one of a new generation of triple-threat actor/directors to emerge from television in the 1980s and 1990s. Florek continued to work on Law & Order until 2010.