April 21, 1997 12:00 PM

Dennis Franz hates to throw anything away. “I’m a tremendous pack rat,” says the star of ABC’s NYPD Blue. “When I was in the Army in Vietnam, I’d grab all the C-rations that the others wouldn’t, eat, so I always had a backpack full of fruitcakes.” These days, Franz, 52, has moved on to nonedible treasures, many of which he displays in his two-room trailer on the Fox lot. Favorites include a stuffed pig in a police uniform from his first TV cop series, Chicago Story, an autographed baseball from Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks and a plaque given to him by a New York City detective featuring the badge number of his Blue character, Andy Sipowicz. “Dennis is very proud of the work he’s done, so he’s got a lot of cop stuff around, awards he’s been given,” says Blue producer Bill Clark. But Franz credits wife Joanie Zeck, a corporate gift-buyer, for refining his interest in collecting. “She introduced me to swap meets [flea markets],” he says. “We’ve been doing that for years, and we’ve found wonderful little treasures. She says our house is decorated in early Swap Meet.”

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