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Law & Order Actor Dann Florek Was Apparently Making Less Than $2 A Week Before His Career Success

Dick Wolf's "Law & Order" franchise consists of a number of shows, nearly all of them presenting a constant revolving door for characters. Some faces stick around so long, though, the image of the actors instantly brings with them memories of the show and that legendary transition sound, like "Law & Order: SVU" superstar Mariska Hargitay or fellow castmate Ice-T, each of whom survived many cast changes in that show's history.

Another face likely instantly recognizable to "Law & Order" fans, new and old, is that of Dann Florek, who debuted as Captain Donald Cragen in the original "Law & Order" in 1990 (via IMDb). His character was later part of the main "Law & Order: SVU" cast. Florek was written off "Law & Order: SVU" in 2013, with Cragen retiring from the force (via The Hollywood Reporter). The character is so signature to the series, though, that even in retirement, he's still managed to pop up in Wolf's world, appearing on both "Law & Order: SVU" and "Law & Order: Organized Crime."

Considering his success today thanks to "Law & Order" and other hits like "L.A. Law," it might be hard to picture Florek as a young struggling actor in the '80s, barely getting by. According to him, however, he was at one point barely scraping by and hardly able to order off a dollar menu.

Dann Florek was married while pulling in $1.38 a week

Dann Florek put blood, sweat, and tears into his career, and when things finally broke for him, he was grateful not just for himself but for his wife, who had stuck with him through the hard years. The actor revealed in 1988 while starring in "L.A. Law" that sometimes he was bringing in only $1.38 a week as he tried piecing together a steady acting career.

"There were times when she was working and I was making $1.38 a week. Now we laugh because we might get a $500 check for looping [recording additional dialogue at a later date]," Florek told the Chicago Tribune in 1988. After Florek's break on "L.A. Law," the '90s would include involvement in a number of successful projects for the actor, including "The Flintstones" and appearances on "NYPD Blue" and other shows.

The actor and his wife were in desperate need of money before his "L.A. Law" days. Florek revealed they didn't know what looping was, let alone that an actor could get paid for it. "We'll go out to a wonderful dinner with it, and we'll laugh, 'Looping! Who ever thought of looping!' There were so many times we not only didn't know what looping was; we didn't know what chicken was," the actor said.