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NYPD Blue Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

When "NYPD Blue" premiered on ABC in 1993, the series co-created by Steven Bochco and David Milch immediately became an intense elevation of the standard police drama. The show turned already successful actors Dennis Franz, Jimmy Smits, and Amy Brenneman into household names, and it forever changed the landscape of network television. "NYPD Blue" also starred David Caruso, now best known now for a little show called "CSI: Miami." By the time "NYPD Blue" ended its 22-year run in 2005, the acclaimed series had earned 20 primetime Emmys, and it had received a litany of nominations and awards (via IMDb).

Additionally, "NYPD Blue" both changed the game and influenced a number of subsequent series in its genre following its premiere (see: everything under Dick Wolf's TV empire umbrella). In 2018, Variety's 25th-anniversary tribute to the show included the following praise: "Not only would 'NYPD Blue' pioneer a grittier, more frenetic storytelling style ... it would challenge long-established broadcast network limits regarding violence, nudity, and four-letter words."

"NYPD Blue" also regularly featured recognizable character actors, like "The West Wing" alum Richard Schiff, and stars who eventually broke out, like "Clarice" star Kal Penn. Sadly, in the 16 years since its series finale, a few memorable "NYPD Blue" faces have passed away.

Mark Blum played two different NYPD Blue characters

Actor and producer Mark Blum appeared on three episodes of "NYPD Blue" from 1993 to 1999 (via IMDb). He made his first appearance as Dr. Roland Sachs on the Season 1 episode "From Hare to Eternity" and then returned as FBI Agent Mike Francis for two different episodes, one in Season 3 and one in Season 6. Blum's big breakout role arrived almost a decade before his "NYPD Blue" debut, starring alongside Madonna and Rosanna Arquette in 1985's "Desperately Seeking Susan." From there, the actor landed back-to-back roles in Allan Burns' "Just Friends" and Peter Faiman's surprisingly successful culture-clash comedy, "Crocodile Dundee."

Blum is most recognizable for the various television series on which he starred over the course of his career. A year after playing Richard Mason in "Crocodile Dundee," he starred on NBC's short-lived series "Sweet Surrender" before moving on to the character of newspaper editor Edison King on the ABC drama "Capital News" in 1990. From 1993 to 2011, Blum also played various characters on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Law & Order," and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." 

He continued to enjoy consistent cameo work for the next seven years, before tackling the character of straight-laced Union Bob on Amazon Prime's critically acclaimed dramedy, "Mozart in the Jungle" (per Rotten Tomatoes). Although he continued to work up until 2020, contemporary audiences will most immediately recognize him for his role in Netflix's "You" (where he played the Mr. Mooney), and his arcs on HBO's "Succession" and Showtime's "Billions." Blum died on March 26, 2020, following complications resulting from the coronavirus (via The Guardian).

NYPD Blue supporting star Charles Levin was no stranger to playing characters in uniform

Chicago native Charles Levin portrayed ADA Maury Abrams in "NYPD Blue," but his career had been consistent and successful long before his four-episode run from 1994 to 19995. Levin launched his film career in 1977, with small parts in "Between the Lines," a comedy starring Jeff Goldblum, and Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" (via IMDb). Levin went on to land roles on TV series like "Family Ties," "It Takes Two," and "Goodnight, Beantown," while also enjoying small roles in films such as "The Seduction of Joe Tynan" and "This Is Spinal Tap." 

From 1983 to 1985, Levin portrayed lovable cop Elliott Novak on the CBS sitcom "Alice" and played yet another law enforcement role when he appeared as Eddie Gregg on NBC's influential police procedural "Hill Street Blues." Levin was also known for his memorable arcs in shows such as "The Golden Girls," "Punky Brewster" (where he also played a cop), "Karen's Song," "Falcon Crest," "Empty Nest," "Night Court," "Wings," and "Seinfeld." In 1990, the actor starred alongside fellow "NYPD Blue" vet Mark Blum on "Capital News" and popped up on both "Designing Women" and "Murphy Brown" before landing the role of ADA Maury Abrams. 

Charles Levin's final role was as a geologist in 1998's Oscar-nominated film "A Civil Action," starring John Travolta and Robert Duvall (via IMDb). In November 2019, USA Today confirmed that after being "reported missing on July 8 following more than a week of absence," the actor's body was finally found not far from his vehicle, which appeared to have become irreversibly stuck in the dangerous terrain, in a remote area of Oregon.

Award-winning actor Suzzanne Douglas played a number memorable roles, including one on NYPD Blue

Although Suzzanne Douglas appeared only briefly on "NYPD Blue" as Mrs. Torrence on a Season 4 episode titled "Where's 'Swaldo," the actor enjoyed a prolific career in films, television series, and TV movies dating back to the early '80s. In 1989, Douglas was awarded an NAACP Image Award for her portrayal of Amy in "Tap," — which also starred Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr. (via NBC News) — before landing her first recurring role in 1991 on the Fox legal dramedy "Against the Law." From there, the Chicago native went on to star in the award-winning, Civil Rights-centered NBC series "I'll Fly Away" (via IMDb). 

Douglas built on her success with recurring roles on the "Touched by an Angel" spin-off, "Promised Land," and later, on The WB's popular sitcom "The Parent 'Hood." In 2004, Douglas was nominated again at the NAACP Image Awards for outstanding actress in a TV movie, mini-series, or dramatic special for her portrayal of The Mother in "The Wonderful World of Disney" TV movie "Sounder" (via IMDb). Most recently, the actor played Tomika's mother in "School of Rock," portrayed singer Whitney Houston's mother in the Angela Bassett-directed television biopic "Whitney," and starred as Grace Cuffee, the mother of unjustly accused teen Kevin Richardson (Asante Blackk), in Ava DuVernay's "When They See Us" (via IMDb).

After creating memorable and moving characters onscreen for over 40 years, the actor's final performance came in 2020 with Angel Kristi Williams's "Really Love." Douglas died at the age of 64 on July 6, 2021, at her home in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Her death was the result of complications from cancer (via The New York Times).