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From law to ‘Law and Order’

Sitting in the passenger seat, dressed as a fireman, Richard Lublin zipped through the streets of Manhattan in a fire truck driven by Dennis Leary.

It was just another day on the set of the FX drama "Rescue Me." "It was a hoot, they were crazy," Lublin said of his appearance on the show where he played a New York City fire chief.

"They were just those kinds of guys," he said of his co-stars. The series was just one among many that have featured the Avon resident who has also had parts in "Frasier," "Ally McBeal," "Chicago Hope," "Unhappily Ever After," "Law and Order," "Married with Children" and "Luck." He had a role in "Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead," which included a speaking part and this year’s "The Land of Steady Habits," starring Ben Mendelsohn.

He just got word in mid-July that he will have a part in the new Amazon series "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," although he does not know his role. The show has be ordered for two seasons. While he has enjoyed several big and small screen appearances, Lublin originally spent his career as an attorney.

"I always wanted to be an actor," Lublin said, adding that he had been in plays in high school and enjoyed seeing Broadway shows. "When you are a trial lawyer you are an actor, just on a smaller stage."

His foray into acting began while he and his late wife, Jane, were spending the summer at their home in Hyannisport on Cape Cod. Their neighbors, the Kennedys, invited them to a party where Lublin met then director of the Fox series "Married with Children," Gerry Cohen. Lublin told him he’d love to meet actress Christina Applegate who played Kelly Bundy on the series. Coincidently Lublin was planning a trip to Los Angeles. When he arrived he got a call from the director telling him not only could he meet the actress, he would be in the show.

"It was exciting," Lublin said of this first role, adding that Applegate was "absolutely gorgeous and sweet as can be." He still has the photo of the two of them on set. From there, Lublin said, Cohen "pushed me on to ‘Unhappily Ever After’ and pushed me around from one to another."

Lublin said each experience is different, although there are some similarities. For instance, for an hour-long drama, the work is very controlled and you often have to repeat your lines over and over again. "If you have a speaking part they are very nice to you," he said of the fellow cast and crewmembers, but added, "If you drop an adjective you have to start all over again … everyone glares at you."

During filming of an episode of "Rescue Me," which featured actress Tatum O’Neal, crew members were taking photos. O’Neal informed everyone she did not want to be photographed. Lublin asked her if he bought a Bible from her would she take a photo with him? He was referring to her Academy Award-winning role in the 1973 movie "Paper Moon," in which her character drove around the country during the Great Depression selling Bibles. O’Neal obliged and kissed Lublin on the cheek.

Lublin explained for a show like "Law and Order," where he had a role as a judge, filming can take place 12 hours a day, five days a week and it is possible to shoot the same scene over and over. When the show runs on television the audience sees 42 minutes and those involved never know what the editors have done to their work.

In many cases Lublin will be informed he has a role in a particular series or movie but is not told what the role will be and often does not receive a script until the day before filming.

Lublin’s brushes with Hollywood go beyond being in front of the camera. He and his wife would sometimes receive tickets to the Emmys.

"That was very enjoyable," he said of the award show. The last time he and his wife attended they sat at a table during an after party with Peter Faulk and Fay Dunaway. "They talked like ordinary people," he said. Lublin does not miss being an attorney. "It got to be very nasty," he said. "Lawyers are very aggressive with one another, it’s very unpleasant. In acting everyone is so nice."

Lublin earned a degree from Duke University and his juris doctor degree from Cornell Law School. He was a practicing attorney from 1964 to 1996 and spent time before the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He was the founding partner for the firm Lublin, Wolfe, Kantor and Silver with 22 attorneys in offices in East Hartford and Avon.

During his career he was the lead counsel representing Dartmouth Plan Financial Corporation, going head-to-head with then Connecticut Attorney General Joseph Lieberman. He also represented the interests of the financial institutions in the Colonial Realty case.

One of Lublin’s most important roles is his charitable work. He and his wife, Jane, were inspired following her battle with cancer. "My wife got a horrific cancer, the battle was on," Lublin said. After talking to several doctors around the country about where to go for the best treatment, Lublin was told the University of Connecticut Healthcare Center.

"Once we found out what she had we raised millions for UConn and others," Lublin said. Jane Lublin passed away in August 2016. The couple had been married for 34 years. Their efforts included fund-raising for the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at UConn Health where they were title sponsors for the center’s annual White Coat Gala, an event founded by Lublin. They also sponsored the UConn Cancer Research Golf Tournament, and donated to the Bioscience Connecticut initiatives at UConn Health.

Recently a new waiting room in the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center was named in honor of the couple and they were the recipients of the Carole and Ray Neag Medal of Honor in April 2014. This year Richard Lublin was the benefactor of the American Society’s Annual Bucket List Bash held in Naples, Florida, which included a performance by famed vocalist Andrea Bocelli.

In 1992 the couple established the Jane and Richard Lublin Research and Endowment Fund at the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts, with a gift to research prostrate and bladder cancer, urology and pain management for cancer patients. In addition to other causes, the couple donated funding for a waiting room at the Davenport-Mugar Cancer Center at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Massachusetts, in honor of Jane Lublin’s father who died from cancer.

While much of his philanthropic efforts have focused on the medical field, Lublin also recognized the importance of education. In 1993 he established the Richard K. Lublin Teaching Award presented annually at the Duke University Trinity College of Arts and Sciences. In addition, the Richard K. Lublin Scholarship Fund at Duke University awards a stipend to a graduating member of the senior class who is continuing their education in law school. When Lublin has time to relax he enjoys playing golf and traveling. His most recent adventure included a cruise through the Baltics, Copenhagen and St. Petersburg. "I always did a lot of traveling with my wife," Lublin said. "When she was healthy we traveled all over the place."

Sometimes his acting experience can come in handy. When his wife was in the hospital, a doctor planned to give her some medication when Lublin informed him that was not the correct medicine. Another doctor who was in the room agreed with Lublin and informed the first doctor that Lublin is not a physician but he has played one on television, "and he knows more than you do."

Now 75, Lublin has no intention of giving up his acting career, even though he recognizes that there is limited work in Hollywood for a person his age. If a part comes along and he has the time he will consider the role, otherwise he is happy to pursue his other hobbies and interests. "I don’t want to do it full time," he said, adding that he once turned down a part in a Broadway show because he did not want to commit to six months of work. "I really enjoy it," Lublin said of his second career. "I am very much in awe of acting, Broadway and movies. Now in my old age I have a small part of the career I would have loved to have."

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