Dennis Franz

Dennis Franz

Franz in 2012, photo by kathclick/

Birth Name: Dennis Franz Schlachta

Place of Birth: Maywood, Illinois, U.S.

Date of Birth: October 28, 1944

*father – German, Polish
*mother – Ashkenazi Jewish

Dennis Franz is an American actor. He has starred on the series NYPD Blue, as well as films such as Dressed to Kill and Body Double.

His father, Franz Ferdinand Schlachta, was born in Wattenshield, Germany, and had Polish and German ancestry.

His mother, Elinor/Elenore/Elenora/Eleanor (Mueller), was born in Chicago, Illinois, to an Ashkenazi Jewish family. It appears that Dennis’s mother or some of her family, converted to Christianity at some point, perhaps after 1943; that year, Dennis’s maternal grandmother died, and was buried from a Jewish funeral home.

Dennis is married to Joanie Zeck.

Dennis’s paternal grandfather was Jakob/Jacob Schlachta (the son of Landwirt Gottlieb Schlachta and Charlotte Buczko). Jakob was born in Kreis Lyck.

Dennis’s paternal grandmother was Regina Katharina Dolinga (the daughter of Adam Dolinga and Luise/Louise Brodovski/Brodowski). Regina was born in Kreis Lyck. Luise was the daughter of Jacob Brodowski and Charlotte Louise Manke.

Dennis’s maternal grandfather was Ismar Mueller/Miller (the son of Haufmann Benno Mueller/Mueler/Muller and Adelheid “Adele”/Adair Epstein). Ismar was born in Dyhernfurth/Dzhernfurth, Silesia, Germany, now Brzeg Dolny, in Poland.

Dennis’s maternal grandmother was named Martha Hecht (the daughter of Szmuel/Samuel/Sam Lajb Hecht and Igmar). Martha was born in Prague, Bohemia. Szmuel was the son of Dawid Hecht and Estera Hana Frydman.

Franz in 1994, photo credit: Alan Light

Sources: Dennis Franz on the 1950 U.S. Census –

Dennis’s parents on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Birth record of Dennis’s mother –

Dennis’s mother on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Death record of Dennis’s mother –

Marriage record of Dennis’s maternal grandparents, Ismar Mueller/Miller and Martha Hecht –

Dennis’s maternal grandparents, Ismar Mueller/Miller and Martha Hecht, on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Death record of Dennis’s maternal grandfather, Ismar Mueller/Miller –

Death record of Dennis’s maternal grandmother, Martha (Hecht) Mueller –


Curious about ethnicity

9 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    Does he actually have any German ancestry?

  2. madman says:

    His father was probably fully Polish. Schlachta (Szlachta) is a Polish surname. The thing that makes it a little doubtful is the first name Gottlieb.

  3. madman says:

    With the surnames Dolinga and Brodovski, his paternal grandmother was probably Polish or Jewish. Dolinga appears to be Jewish in many cases:

    • follers says:

      He could have Jewish ancestry, I think.

      Not from the “Dolinga” line, though. For the life of me, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Eastern European Jew with the first name “Adam” born before a certain point. Lots of non-Jewish Germans and Polish people, though. Maybe German Jews.

      • bearboy says:

        Strange, I thought a lot of Ashkenazi Jews have been giving their children biblical names for a long time now?

      • madman says:

        Well, one has to be the first.

        Where do you think his possible Jewish ancestry comes from?

        • follers says:

          “Epstein” and “Hecht”, that side seems somewhat Jewish, at least without knowing more information.

          I don’t think any of the “Dollinga”s on that FamilySearch page were Jewish.

          • bablah says:

            >I don’t think any of the “Dollinga”s on that FamilySearch page were Jewish.
            They most certainly aren’t, it’s just a bunch of Polish people. I’m not getting why everybody from Eastern Europe is Jewish to some people. Jews were always a minority. Even in America number of all Jews is etimated to be 8,300,000, while the number of Polish-Americans alone is 9,500,000.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.