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Dick Wolf Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (12)  | Personal Quotes (28)

Overview (3)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameRichard A. Wolf
Height 6' 4" (1.93 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Dick Wolf was born on December 20, 1946 in New York City, New York, USA as Richard A. Wolf. He is a producer and writer, known for Law & Order (1990), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) and Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001). He has been married to Noelle Lippman since June 17, 2006. They have two children. He was previously married to Christine Marburg and Susan Scranton.

Spouse (3)

Noelle Lippman (17 June 2006 - present) (separated) (2 children)
Christine Marburg (29 June 1983 - 2003) (divorced) (3 children)
Susan Scranton (5 September 1970 - 16 March 1983) (divorced)

Trade Mark (3)

Often uses guest appearances as springboards for actors into regular cast roles.
Does not like to use establishing shots in his shows. He believes that this gets in the way of dialogue and fitting a good story into an episode.
Frequently bases stories on real-life events

Trivia (12)

Attended prep school, which served as basis later for his School Ties (1992) screenplay; also attended University of Pennsylvania.
Father was an advertising executive, mother a housewife.
Worked as copywriter and/or producer of over 100 TV commercials, 1969-1976.

Children: Olivia, Sarina and Elliot.
Producer Dick Wolf is old friends with producer Tom Fontana. They often use actors from each other's TV series, usually resulting in the actors working on two shows at once. Examples are J.K. Simmons on Law & Order (1990) and Oz (1997), Christopher Meloni and Dean Winters on Oz (1997) and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) and Kathryn Erbe on Oz (1997) and Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001). Richard Belzer famously leaped from producers' show to show as "Detective John Munch".
Was an altar boy at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York back when Cardinal Spellman was Archbishop.
Is a close friend of famous crime novelist James Ellroy. Wolf even hired Ellroy's best friend, LAPD Homicide Detective William Stoner, as a technical advisor on his TV show Dragnet (2003).
Ranked #50 in the Power Rankings and #12 in the Money Rankings on Forbes' 2006 Celebrity 100 list, with $70 million in earnings, primarily from the syndication of the various "Law & Order" shows.
Was a member of Zeta Psi fraternity while a student at the University of Pennsylvania.
Has four children in all, three with his wife Christine Marburg, Elliot, Olivia and Serena, and one with Noelle Lippman, a newborn in 2007.
Claims the scariest movie he has ever seen is Roman Polanski's Repulsion (1965).
Classmate of George W. Bush at Phillips Academy, Andover (Class of '64). Named to Andover's list of notable alumni.
Has two children with Noelle Lippman, a daughter Zoe Amelia Wolf (b. September 21, 2007) and a son Rex Wolf (b. March 2, 2010).

Personal Quotes (28)

(talking to critics about his 'Law and Order' franchise) "You guys don't report the financial aspects of how successful the brand is. The only reason the brand is that successful -- it's show business. No show, no business. You've got an actress sitting up here (Mariska Hargitay) who has received two consecutive Emmy nominations for a show ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit") that everybody would describe as mature. I didn't see that much fuss made about it. You read about who's hot, who's not. These shows are never mentioned. We're not looking to be the hot show. That's not what the 'Law & Order' brand is about. It's about longevity and about repeatability and about staying on the air and being a profit center for NBC for years to come."
Desperate Housewives is a cultural phenomenon. But, in my mind, it's a sprinter. These shows (the Law & Order shows) are marathon runners. These shows are designed to run for unreasonable periods of time.
If you're going to the theater and the actor does not have a 'Law & Order' credit on the Playbill, it means he's just got off the bus [to New York], or is really a bad actor.
I've never understood the obsession with younger writers and dramas. Comedies I understand, but how do you write drama at 23; you haven't experienced anything. You know about 23-year-olds. It's kind of hard to write about 60 year old EADAs [Executive Assistant District Attorneys]. Only a couple of us are 60 years old so far, but there are not many 23-year-olds who can write about life-changing situations unless it's medical. That sounds weird, but there's not the mileage on the odometer to get under the surface. There are exceptions that prove the rule-Dickens wasn't bad at 23.
[on the cancellation of Law & Order after 20 years on air] That's business. That's life. Every show is born under a death sentence, they just don't tell you the date of execution.
[on the Chicago franchise on NBC] I have ludicrously high hopes that the 'Chicago' shows will be on for a long time because they have settled in, nobody else is making television like this.
I've been on the air continuously at NBC for 21 years. So this is an extraordinarily long relationship, and it's like a very long-term marriage. I mean, there are stresses and strains intermittently, but we're kind of stuck with each other forever.
The heart and soul of network programming is series programming, the weekly repetition of characters you like having in your house.
'Law & Order' has been ripped from the headlines for 240 episodes. Over the past 11 years, the series has offended the sensitivities of a variety of special interest groups, including, but not limited to Jews, Catholics, Protestants, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Aryans, Gays and Lesbians, Italians, Russians, Greeks, Conservatives, Liberals, Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Advocates, and the list goes on ad nauseam. The show reflects real life.
I don't think you can really make television based on what you think audiences want. You can only make stories that you like, because you have to watch it so many times.
And the consumer doesn't care. They don't watch networks, they watch TV shows.
Drama or comedy programming is still the surest way for advertisers to reach a mass audience. Once that changes, all bets are off.
TV is not about ideas. It's about execution. And writing and casting. That's why most of TV drama's biggest stars have been character actors, not romantic leads. Peter Falk. Telly Savalas. Angela Lansbury. They can inhabit a role for years, and that's the TV challenge. I like to say a successful movie lasts 110 minutes. A successful TV series lasts 110 hours.
Advertising is the art of the tiny. You have to tell a complete a story and deliver a complete message in a very encapsulated form. It disciplines you to cut away extraneous information.
As soon as you become complacent your show gets canceled.
I get bored with establishing shots of people getting out of cars and walking into buildings, getting into elevators and then 45 seconds later they have a line.
I do love television. But the business is accelerating and people are not getting the chance to fail.
Everybody knows things are not the same. The people running the TV end of a major vertically integrated company know how much money a successful show can make.
I hardly see myself as a futurist.
I think most people don't react well to being screamed at. It's counterproductive.
I try to just communicate what I want done as clearly and simply as possible.
I would say that if you really wished to be a working member of the community, don't go out on strike because then there's no work and no potential of work.
I was raised not to be rude, but I also try to get the best work out of people.
I was running Miami Vice, but it wasn't my show so I got to learn an enormous amount. You were basically getting trained to have your own show.
It was like in Samoa when they'd put up a movie screen on the beach and show movies and the locals would run behind the sheet to see where the people went. It was pretty grim.
If you're going to vote on a television contract, there is a certain rationality to saying that the same structures that are applied to Health Plan participation should be placed on the right to vote on a strike.
It's a very competitive business. And everybody I know who does it is extremely competitive, but they show it or don't show it in different ways.
If the scripts are not good, I'll tell somebody, 'This isn't good.

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