There had been other gay characters on TV series before public administrative assistant John Irvin on ABC's "NYPD Blue", but perhaps none to whom the audience had so quickly and easily warmed. With hi...
First primetime guest appearance, an episode of "Murder, She Wrote"; billed as William Brochtrup
Born in California
Began appearing in commercials
Had first acting roles on "Divorce Court" and "Superior Court"
Reprised role of John Irvin on the short-lived, Bochco-produced CBS sitcom "Public Morals"
Reprised role of John Irvin on "NYPD Blue" on a recurring basis; made regular as of February 1999
Moved to L.A. after graduating from NYU
Made NYC stage debut playing a leading role in the Off-Broadway show "Snakebit"; reprised role in 2000 L.A. production
Breakthrough stage role as a model with AIDS in "The Raft of the Medusa"
Featured in the short-lived ABC drama "Total Security", produced by Bochco
Raised in Bellevue and Tacoma, Washington
TV-movie debut, "Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure" (ABC), billed as William Brochtrup
Created role of John Irvin on "NYPD Blue" (ABC), produced by Steven Bochco
There had been other gay characters on TV series before public administrative assistant John Irvin on ABC's "NYPD Blue", but perhaps none to whom the audience had so quickly and easily warmed. With his sweet smile and peppy attitude, Bill Brochtrup, the openly gay blond with boy-next-door good looks, won the role in 1994 after playing a homosexual model with AIDS in the L.A. stage production of "The Raft of the Medusa". What followed during two seasons of recurring appearances was a chance to see not just Brochtrup's fine acting, but the character of Det. Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) finding he could relate to a gay male as a human being and not as someone who made him uncomfortable. So popular was Irvin that his character was moved to the short-lived 1996 CBS sitcom "Public Morals", which, like "NYPD Blue", was executive produced by Steven Bochco. As a result, the actor has become one of the producers stock players, landing a role as yet another gay character in the ensemble of "Total Security" (ABC, 1997). When that show succumbed to early cancellation, the actor rejoined "NYPD Blue" in early 1998 and remained with the series through the end of its run in 2005.<p> Raised in Washington, Brochtrup moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting soon after his graduation from NYU in 1985. He appeared in stage productions, made his TV debut on such cheaply-made series as "Divorce Court" and "Superior Court" and made bigger bucks doing TV commercials. Early in his career, he was billed as William Brochtrup as in his film debut as a hairdresser in "Kinjite: Forbidden Subject" (1989), other minor film roles, guest spots on "Murder, She Wrote" and "Alf" and his first TV-movie, "Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure" (ABC, 1989). Since his "NYPD Blue" exposure, Brochtrup co-starred in "Man of the Year" (1995), the feature about secretly gay PLAYGIRL Centerfold Dirk Shafer, and played key roles in the Showtime original "Space Marines" (1996) and in "Two Voices" (Lifetime, 1997). He has also continued to appear in Los Angeles area stage productions.
born c. 1970
born c. 1966
born c. 1968
New York University
"I'm something of an apologist for L.A. theater. People in New York tend to say, 'What theater?' But there's just as many actors in New York sitting around the their underwear watching 'The Love Connection'." --Bill Brochtrup in BUZZ, November 1996
"I don't have a strong need to be in a relationship. A lot of people think that's strange, but I'm not unhappy." --Brochtrup in PEOPLE, January 29, 1996
"Bill is one of the funniest, most loving guys I know. He pays attention to who you are. Bill always makes me feel more special than anyone else." --friend Courtney Thorne-Smith to PEOPLE, January 29, 1996
Question: Was it a tough choice for you, as an actor, to be openly gay?
Brochtrup: I've talked about it in the press because I didn't feel comfortable NOT talking about it. But I think it has to be an individual decision. When I was a struggling stage actor in L.A., I played gay and straight characters. Then, suddenly, I was playing a gay character on TV, and the first thing they ask is: 'Are you gay?' At first, I sort of said, 'I don't want to talk about my personal life'--and people would roll their eyes. Then I started telling them I was gay, and it wasn't such a big deal. But it's a scary thing because, once you say it, you can't go back and NOT say it anymore.