Friends and family remember former Chicago police officer and beloved actor Dennis Farina at an intimate funeral service at Assumption Catholic Church. Anthony Ponce reports.
Friends and family bid farewell Tuesday to Dennis Farina, a man remembered in Chicago as much for his days as a police officer as for his acting career.
"He was the quintessential Chicago guy in a million ways, in a million ways, so it's sad to lose a representative like that for the city," friend Maralyn Owen said outside Farina's funeral, held at Assumption Catholic Church.
The film and TV actor died last week at the age of 69 after suffering a blood clot in his lung. Doctors said Farina had been under treatment for lung cancer for several months.
Farina was known for portraying a variety of mobsters and cops in movies and TV shows, but before he went Hollywood, he was a Chicago Police officer from 1967 to 1985.
Tuesday's service was considered a home-coming. Farina grew up in Old Town and went to St. Michael Central High School. Some of his old classmates were among those in attendance at the funeral.
"He was always at my mother's on Sunday for raviolis," high school friend Tony Durpetti said. "My mother's homemade raviolis. He was just a pleasure to be around."
Even after achieving fame on both the small and big screen, friends say Farina never really changed.
"He was a great guy. If you'd met him today, he's the same guy you met way back when," Durpetti said. "Nothing ever affected him."
"He was an amazing actor," Owen said. "Get Shorty ... Law and Order. It's really shocking and hard to believe that he's gone. We're going to miss him a lot."
There was a huge Chicago Police presence all morning in River North to make sure everything for the service ran smoothly. Farina's career as a cop isn't just some gimmicky side-bar to his acting career. In fact, he was on the police force for almost 20 years before pursuing acting full-time.
"The thing that was at his core was that he was a Chicagoan and that he was a police officer. He went on to become a great movie star," said Joe Ahern, the CEO of the 100 Club of Chicago, a non-profit organization that assists the families of fallen police officers and firefighters in Cook County.
Farina is survived by three sons, six grandchildren and his longtime partner, Marianne Cahill.