Richard Anthony Wolf (born December 20, 1946) is an American television producer, best known as the creator and executive producer of the Law & Order franchise. Since 1990, the franchise has included six police/courtroom dramas and four international spinoffs. He is also the creator and executive producer of the Chicago franchise, which, since 2012, has included four Chicago-based police, courtroom, fire, and medical dramas. Wolf has won numerous awards, including an Emmy Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Wolf in 2010
Richard Anthony Wolf
December 20, 1946
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Residence||Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
Richard A. Wolf
Richard D. Wolf
|Alma mater||University of Pennsylvania|
|Occupation||Television writer, director, executive producer, creator|
|Known for||Law & Order franchise|
|Home town||New York City, New York, U.S.|
(m. 1970; div. 1983)
(m. 1983; div. 2005)
Noelle Lippman (m. 2006)
Wolf has also written four books. The first, the non-fiction volume Law & Order: Crime Scenes, is a companion to the Law & Order television series. The Intercept, The Execution, and The Ultimatum, all of which are works of fiction, are volumes in a thriller series upon whose writings Wolf collaborates with N.Y.P.D. Detective Jeremy Fisk.
He was an altar boy and attended Saint David's School, The Gunnery, and the University of Pennsylvania (class of 1969), where he belonged to the Zeta Psi fraternity. He also attended Phillips Academy.
Wolf worked as an advertising copywriter at Benton & Bowles creating commercials for Crest toothpaste, including the slogan "You can't beat Crest for fighting cavities." He is also credited with the campaign "I'm Cheryl, fly me" for National Airlines. Yet despite his success in copywriting, all the while he was writing screenplays in the hopes of a film career. It was at this time that he briefly collaborated on a screenplay with Oliver Stone, who was a struggling screenwriter at the time.
Initial screenwriting success
He moved to Los Angeles after a few years and had three screenplays produced; one of these films, Masquerade (1988) starring Rob Lowe and Meg Tilly, was well received. He started his television career as a staff writer on Hill Street Blues and was nominated for his first Emmy for an episode entitled "What Are Friends For?", on which he was the only writer. While working on Hill Street Blues, Wolf became close friends with Tom Fontana, then writing for the series St. Elsewhere, produced in the same building, at the same time. Wolf moved from Hill Street Blues to Miami Vice, where he was a writer and co-producer for the third and fourth seasons.
Law & Order
Wolf's Law & Order, which ran from 1990 to 2010, tied Gunsmoke for the then-longest-running dramatic show in television history, making it one of television's most successful franchises. It has been nominated for the most consecutive Emmy Awards of any primetime drama series. Wolf serves as creator and executive producer of the current Law & Order drama series from Wolf Films and NBC Universal Television – Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (which as of May 2019 is the longest-running scripted primetime drama, having aired 458 episodes, breaking the original Law & Order number of 456, and being renewed for a record-breaking twenty-first season, beating both the original Law & Order and Gunsmoke). Wolf also was creator and executive producer for the four spinoff shows in the franchise that have been cancelled – Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, Law & Order: UK, and Law & Order: Los Angeles. Along with Kevin Arkadie, he co-created the police drama, New York Undercover, which ran on the Fox Broadcasting Company Network from 1994 to 1998; he also served as Executive Producer of the series. He was the creator and executive producer of NBC's courtroom reality series Crime & Punishment, which chronicled real-life cases prosecuted by the San Diego District Attorney's office. Many of Wolf's series have intersected with the Law & Order franchise in some fashion, and the Law & Order series have been adapted into several foreign versions. Wolf's company also produced Twin Towers, the 2003 Academy Award-winning Short Documentary about two brothers, one a policeman and the other a fireman, who lost their lives in the line of duty on September 11, 2001. Wolf was also involved with the production of a theatrical documentary about the popular rock group The Doors, titled When You're Strange.
Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, and Chicago Justice
Wolf developed Chicago Fire, a drama about a group of men and women working at the Chicago Fire Department. The series was picked up by NBC in May 2012, and premiered on October 10, 2012, with meek numbers in the ratings and minimal reviews in the first few weeks before spiking to NBC's #2 scripted drama series, under Revolution. In March 2013, NBC announced intentions for a spin-off of Chicago Fire, revolving around the Chicago Police Department. When that series, Chicago P.D., premiered, Derek Haas, Michael W. Brandt, and Matt Olmstead became executive producers, under Wolf. Two subsequent shows, Chicago Med, which premiered in 2015, and Chicago Justice, whose one season began and ended in 2017, followed in Chicago P.D.'s wake.
In 2012 Wolf developed the unscripted show Cold Justice, a documentary drama, for TNT. He also has written three novels whose central character is NYPD Detective Jeremy Fisk: The Intercept, The Execution, and The Ultimatum.
Wolf's personal honors include the Award of Excellence from the Banff Television Festival, the 2002 Creative Achievement Award from NATPE; the Anti-Defamation League's Distinguished Entertainment Industry Award, the Leadership and Inspiration Award from the Entertainment Industries Council, the Governor's Award by the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the 1997 achievement award from the Caucus for Producers, Writers, and Directors, the 1998 Television Showman of the Year Award from the Publicists Guild of America, the 2002 Tribute from the Museum of Television and Radio, and a 2003 Special Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. On March 29, 2007, Wolf received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7040 Hollywood Boulevard. In 2013 Wolf was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. Wolf is also an Honorary Consul general of Monaco and is actively involved in the principality's prestigious annual Television Festival, and as its primary liaison with the entertainment community.
In addition to having been a classmate of former U.S. President George W. Bush, Wolf was an employer of Fred Thompson, who sought the Republican nomination for President in 2008 with help of the national attention he gained playing the district attorney on Law & Order. Wolf supported Thompson in his bid, as did Bush. It was reported that Wolf contributed to Thompson's campaign before he officially announced he was running.
Wolf's future projects for NBC are an American adaption of the United Kingdom psychological legal drama series Injustice as well as a drama series revolving around a satanic cult, tentatively titled The Church. Wolf is writing the latter project with Howard Franklin. Wolf also has an untitled pilot about an insurance investigator on USA Network.
With Wolf pursuing projects other than Law & Order, he and current Law & Order: Special Victims Unit show runner/executive producer Warren Leight sometimes discuss the future of the Law & Order franchise and revitalizing it; Leight commenting "(Dick Wolf and I) sometimes talk in general terms of where (the franchise) could go. I'm curious to see if there's another iteration somewhere down the line."
- Miami Vice (1984–1989)
- Hill Street Blues (1985–1987)
- Gideon Oliver (1989)
- Christine Cromwell (1989)
- Nasty Boys (1990)
- H.E.L.P. (1990)
- Law & Order (1990–2010)
- Mann & Machine (1992)
- The Human Factor (1992)
- South Beach (1993)
- New York Undercover (1994–1998)
- The Wright Verdicts (1995)
- Swift Justice (1996)
- Feds (1997)
- Players (1997–1998)
- Exiled: A Law & Order Movie (1998) (TV)
- The Invisible Man (1998) (TV)
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–present)
- D.C. (2000)
- Deadline (2000–2001)
- Arrest & Trial (2000)
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001–2011)
- Dragnet (2003) Universal Network Television/ABC
- Fatherhood (2004–2005)
- Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005–2006)
- Conviction (2006)
- Paris enquêtes criminelles (2007–2008)
- Law & Order: UK (2009–2014)
- Law & Order: LA (2010–2011)
- Community ("Basic Lupine Urology", 2012)
- Chicago Fire (2012–present)
- Family Guy (2012); Guest voice in "Ratings Guy"
- Chicago P.D. (2014–present)
- Cold Justice (2013–present)
- Nightwatch (2015–present) A&E Network/NBC Universal
- Cold Justice: Sex Crimes (2015)
- 3AM (2015)
- Chicago Med (2015–present)
- Chicago Justice (2017)
- Inside The FBI: New York (2017) TV docuseries, USA Network
- Criminal Confessions (2017) TV docuseries, Oxygen
- FBI (2018–present)
- Murder for Hire (2019–present) Oxygen Network
- First Responders Live (2019–present) Fox
- FBI: Most Wanted (2020)
- "Dick Wolf, wife welcome baby girl - USATODAY.com". Usatoday30.usatoday.com. 2007-09-23. Retrieved 2017-01-25.
- "LAW & ORDER: Crime Scenes". Publishers Weekly. 15 September 2003. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
- DeSilva, Bruce (October 22, 2012). "The Intercept". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- Dick Wolf profile, FilmReference.com; accessed February 1, 2014.
- Green, Susan (March 29, 2007). "Dialogue: Dick Wolf". The Hollywood Reporter.
Your lineage is both Catholic and Jewish
- Stanley, Alessandra. "Church Woes Are Invading TV Pilots; Story Lines Mirror Public Disenchantment With Catholic Hierarchy".
- "The Gunnery - Explore Washington CT".
- Adhikari, Dibya Raj. "Dick Wolf". Frostsnow.
- Eshman, Rob (October 16, 1997). "A Wolf Among 'Sheep'". Jewish Journal. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
- "Dialogue: Dick Wolf".
- "Dick Wolf Interview". Archive of American Television. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. 2013-04-21. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
- Dick Wolf, Interview, Archive of American Television, 2008, Accessed March 16, 2017
- Weiner, Allison Hope (May 23, 2005). "Case Closed". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
- Andreeva, Nellie (May 9, 2012). "NBC Renews 'Law & Order: SVU, Picks Up 'Chicago Fire', Inks New Deal With Dick Wolf". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (October 11, 2012). "Wednesday Final Ratings: 'The X Factor', 'Survivor', 'The Neighbors' & 'Modern Family' Adjusted Up; No Adjustments for 'Arrow'". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on October 13, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 27, 2013). "NBC Eyes 'Chicago Fire' Spinoff Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
- Slezak, Michael (March 27, 2013). "Chicago Fire Spreading? NBC Considering Police-Centric Spinoff Series". TV Line. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
- Cohn, Paulette (25 September 2018). "Law & Order Alum Jeremy Sisto on Joining Federal Law Enforcement in FBI". Parade.
- Goldberg, Lesley (May 16, 2012). "Upfronts 2012: TNT Developing Shows From Steven Bochco, Dick Wolf, Matthew McConaughey, More". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
- Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. "Hollywood Walk of Fame Recent Ceremonies". Archived from the original on 2007-03-29. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
- "Consulate of Monaco in Los Angeles, United States". Embassypages.com. Retrieved 2017-01-25.
- "Thompson's 'Candidacy' Draws Variety of Supporters". Memphis Daily News. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
- Andreeva, Nellie (September 4, 2012). "Dick Wolf & David Hudgins To Adapt British Series 'Injustice' For NBC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
- Ng, Philiana (October 12, 2012). "Dick Wolf Developing Cult Drama 'Church' at NBC". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
- "Dick Wolf of 'Law & Order' will try a new genre with drama 'The Church'". New York Daily News. October 15, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
- Rose, Lacey (May 17, 2012). "Upfronts 2012: Bryan Fuller, Dick Wolf, Kelsey Grammer Projects Join USA's Scripted Development Slate". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
- Jodha, Michael (October 3, 2012). "There's no shortage of crimes for 'SVU,' says executive producer". CTV. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
- Pedersen, Erik. "Jared Leto To Direct James Ellroy Thriller '77' For Paramount". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- "'Inside the FBI: New York' Promo Reveals Premiere for Dick Wolf Docuseries".
- Petski, Denise (22 August 2017). "'Criminal Confessions': Dick Wolf's Oxygen Media Reality Series Gets Premiere Date, Trailer".
- Dick Wolf on IMDb
- Interview with Wolf on NPR's Fresh Air (March 11, 2005)
- Behind the Scenes of Dick Wolf's "Nasty Boys"
- Dick Wolf at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television
- New York Times article: "Dick Wolf Breaks and Enters With 'Law and Order' on NBC" by Bruce Weber, March 1, 1992.