Chicago Cop Turned Actor Dennis Farina Dies

Publicist confirms Farina's death at age 69

Chicago actor and former police officer Dennis Farina is dead at the age of 69.

Farina died in a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital with his girlfriend of 35 years by his side, according to his publicist. Farina was admitted to the hospital after suffering a blood clot in his lung.

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.

"The entire CPD family was saddened to hear of the passing of Dennis Farina, a legendary character actor who was a true-blue Chicago character," current police Supt. Garry McCarthy said in a statement. "After an 18-year career in the Chicago Police Department, Dennis had a wonderful second act in life, bringing his distinctive Chicago voice and values to millions of people. No matter how far he got, Dennis never forgot where he came from, and while he was cherished by audiences around the world, he will always be first and foremost a guy from the Near North Side who helped make this city safer.  We respect him for his service, we regard him for his talent, and we will remember him always."

Born Feb. 29, 1944, in Chicago, he was a city police officer before turning to acting in his late 30s.

For three decades, Farina was a character actor who displayed remarkable dexterity, charm and, when called for, toughness, making effective use of his craggy face, steel-gray hair, ivory smile and ample mustache.

Farina spent two seasons as Detective Joe Fontana on Law & Order and appeared in movies such as Midnight Run, Get Shorty, and Saving Private Ryan. He also starred in the 1980s cult favorite "Crime Story" and was a regular in the 2011-12 HBO drama "Luck." He recently completed shooting a comedy, "Lucky Stiff."

Farina caught the acting bug after working as a consultant with director Michael Mann.

A veteran of the Chicago theater, Farina appeared in Joseph Mantegna's "Bleacher Bums" and "Streamers," directed by Terry Kinney, among other productions.

Farina also had a summer cottage in nearby New Buffalo, MI. Residents like Charlie Maroney, whose family owns Redamaks restaurant, says he was always friendly, although he hadn't seen him in a few years.

"He was very nice. I would randomly run into him in town, we would shake hands after I reminded him who I was, and briefly talk about family," Maroney said.

"Every time he would be on a show or in a movie I would tell everyone, 'hey, that's Dennis Farina, he has a house right down the street.' He will be missed."

Farina is survived by three sons, six grandchildren and his longtime partner, Marianne Cahill.


Copyright AP - Associated Press
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