Dennis Farina, ‘Law & Order’ Star, Dies At 69
Dennis Farina, the real-life police officer-turned-actor, died on Monday in Scottsdale, Ariz., after suffering a blood clot in his lung. He was 69.
Farina served as a Chicago police officer before he decided to pursue a career in acting in his late 30s. He was perhaps best known for playing Det. Joe Fontano on Law & Order from 2004 to 2006 and Lt. Mike Torello in Crime Story. His film credits include Snatch (2000), Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Get Shorty (1995). He recently starred in HBO series Luck with Dustin Hoffman and had a guest-starring role on New Girl as Nick’s father Walt.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of a great actor and a wonderful man," his publicist Lori De Waal said in a statement. "Dennis Farina was always warmhearted and professional, with a great sense of humor and passion for his profession. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues."
Farina was born in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood in 1944. In the late 60s he became a city police officer and was eventually made a detective. In the early 80s, director Michael Mann was filming a movie in Chicago and had been using one of his friends as an advisor. When Mann was looking for a guide to the city, Farina was suggested. Mann then ended up giving Farina a role in the film, Thief. From then on, Farina found himself making a new career for himself in the acting world, predominately playing cops and criminals.
Farina is survived by his longtime partner Marianne Cahill, three sons and a number of grandchildren.