Dick Wolf was born in 1946, in New York. Having previously worked as an ad copywriter, in 1985 Wolf joined NBC's Hill Street Blues team as an executive script consultant and stayed through the show's final season, earning Emmy and Writer's Guild nominations. In 1988, Wolf formed his own television production company, Wolf Films, which would go on to produce the long-running series Law & Order and its spinoffs. Wolf has also produced films such as School Ties, No Man’s Land and Twin Towers and helmed a number of Windy City–based dramas, including Chicago Fire and Chicago Medical.
Education and Early Career
Richard Anthony Wolf was born on December 20, 1946, in New York City. He studied at Philips Andover Academy, with future U.S. president George W. Bush among his classmates, before attending the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1969.
Wolf went on to launch a successful career in advertising, writing and producing more than 100 TV commercials and penning the slogans "You can't beat Crest for fighting cavities" and "I'm Cheryl, fly me" for National Airlines. Yet despite his success in copywriting, Wolf decided to transition to long-form narratives for the screen. He wrote and produced 1978’s Skateboard, an endearing teen flick that became his first feature film, and then penned the 1981 news comedy Gas.
'Hill Street Blues' and 'Miami Vice'
In 1985, Wolf joined NBC's Hill Street Blues team as an executive script consultant and stayed through the show's final season, earning Emmy and Writer's Guild nominations for the episode "What Are Friends For?" In the mid-'80s, Wolf went on to join another iconic show of the decade, Miami Vice, starring Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as two sharply dressed detectives surviving the gritty realities of urban crime. However Johnson eventually had Wolf removed from the show, with the producer thus seeing his final work for the series in 1988.
'Law & Order' Franchise
Undeterred, Wolf launched the TV and movie production company Wolf Films and went on to create the series for which he would become most widely known—Law & Order, which made its debut in 1990 and lasted for two decades. The hour-long show, originally starring Chris Noth, Michael Moriarty and Richard Brooks, among others, relied heavily on dialogue and exposition with a unique procedural formula: The first half of each episode showcased police unearthing the details of a crime, while the second half followed the prosecution of said crime.
Over the years, Law & Order spawned a number of spinoffs, most notably Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, another long-running show—starring Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T and Richard Belzer—that focuses on investigations related to sexually oriented crimes. Other parts of the Law & Order franchise have included the Criminal Intent series as well as LA- and UK-based shows. Wolf received a slew of Emmy nominations for his work as producer on the original Law & Order, with the show winning the 1997 Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.
Wolf was also responsible for helming other police series, such as New York Undercover and Dragnet. He later turned his vision towards the Windy City with the firefighter/paramedic drama Chicago Fire, which debuted in 2012. Fire was later joined on NBC by Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med, with a Chicago Law said to be on the horizon in 2016, thus creating an intricately interconnected screen universe. That same year, Wolf renewed his contract with NBCUniversal in a highly lucrative five-year deal.
Wolf, who had previously penned a detective serial in his pre-teen years, also entered the world of book publishing. He has authored a Harper Collins fiction series focusing on NYPD investigator Jeremy Fisk, featuring the titles The Intercept (2012), The Execution (2014) and The Ultimatum (2015).
Wolf has been married three times and has four children. He wed his third wife, actress Noelle Lippman, in 2006. His second wife, Christine Marburg, has been involved in a years-long legal battle pushing for a renegotiation of the terms of their 2003 divorce, stating that she was not made aware of the extent of Wolf’s assets in light of a historical TV deal.
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