That is so sad. :-(
I rarely watched Law & Order, it's just not my kind of program. But it also gave me mixed-in-a-blender emotions as an actor who mostly does musicals and operettas. Jerry Orbach was a phenomenal operatic-quality baritone, and he created the part of El Gallo in the off-broadway classic The Fantastiks. I grew up listening to his singing and monologues on the original cast album, and though I have seen and heard many productions of the show since then, none have equaled his.
Orbach also created the Broadway roles of Billy Flynn in Chicago and Julian Marsh in 42nd Street.
L&O made me sad to see such great musical talent go unused and unacknowledged, but happy to see a fine actor get the appreciation for dramatic acting which he also deserved.
Interesting side note, Jerry's first credited film role, according to IMDB, was playing Joe 'Mumzer' Sanchez, street gang leader, in the 1958 film Cop Hater.
Thanks to cmpriest for the link.