Born and raised in Wheaton, Illinois, Dennis Dugan began acting in high school and, after graduating from Chicago's Goodman Theater School in 1969, relocated to NYC where he appeared off-Broadway in productions of "A Man's Man" and "The House of Blue Leaves. " Moving to Hollywood in 1973, he worked in episodics, as well as TV-movies like "Death Race" and "The Girl Most Likely To . . ." (both ABC, 1973), before making an auspicious feature debut with an excellent comic performance in Jonathan Kaplan's light-hearted, drive-in sex comedy "Night Call Nurses" (1974), followed by appearances in "The Day of the Locust," "Night Moves" and "Smile" the following year. Dugan raised his profile significantly in 1976, first portraying Nick Nolte's best friend in the most-watched miniseries of its time, "Rich Man, Poor Man" (ABC), and later creating the title character of "Richie Brockelman: The Missing 24 Hours," an NBC TV-movie that also marked important career connections with executive producers Stephen J Cannell and Steven Bochco. He later reprised that role on episodes of NBC's "The Rockford Files" and in the short-lived 1978 spin-off series "Richie Brockelman, Private Eye."