May 08, 2000 12:00 PM

LET’S FACE IT, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT a man out of uniform too. Henry Simmons, the very arresting new presence on ABC’s NYPD Blue, should come with his own Miranda warning—”You have the right to remain silent, but it’s understandable if you need to tell me how handsome I am.” As Det. Baldwin Jones, the 6’4″ Simmons, 29, “is a cross between Michael Jordan and Jimmy Smits,” says costar Dennis Franz. “He looks like Michael but has the same quiet strength about him that Jimmy had when he was on the show.” Or, as executive producer David Milch puts it, “It’s the sweetness that comes through his imposing physical presence that makes for the package.” Naturally, someone this put together must have esoteric grooming tips. Well, Simmons does go to a very exclusive hairdresser. “I’ve been cutting my hair on my own for over 10 years now,” he says, adding, “Being tall, no one can see where you messed up.” The son of Henry Sr., 68, a retired IRS officer, and Aurelia, 67, a retired teacher, Simmons grew up in Stamford, Conn. He was a sophomore business major at Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, N.H., when he took his first acting class and appeared in a school play. “I couldn’t believe how good he was,” says his twin sister, Heather, a casting director. After graduating in 1992, Simmons became a financial management trainee at a firm in Stamford but regularly snuck out of the office for auditions. After 12 months he quit his job, moved to New York City and supported himself as a hotel doorman while pursuing acting work. In 1997 he began a two-year stint on Another World. Simmons, who has a steady girlfriend, relocated to a one-bedroom apartment in L.A. just before being cast in NYPD Blue last October. His good looks, he concedes, “may open a door.” Or, in his case, kick the door down.

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