Veteran actor Dennis Farina, known for playing tough cops — and sometimes tough gangsters — in a string of TV series including "Law & Order," has died. CNN reports that Farina died today at 69.
In a statement today, Farina’s publicist, Lori De Waal, said: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of a great actor and a wonderful man. Dennis Farina was always warm-hearted 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, who had a long career as a police officer in Chicago, got into acting through director Michael Mann, who used him as a consultant and cast him in his 1981 movie, ‘Thief.’ That role led to others in such Mann-created shows as ‘Miami Vice’ (in which Farina played a mobster) and ‘Crime Story’ (in which he starred as Lt. Mike Torello)," CNN reports.
Farina’s feature film roles included "Midnight Run" (1987), "Get Shorty" (1995), "The Mod Squad" (1999) and "Snatch" (2000).
"In 2004, he joined the cast of the long-running ‘Law & Order’ after Jerry Orbach’s departure, playing Detective Joe Fontana, a role he reprised on the spinoff ‘Trial by Jury.’ Fontana was known for flashy clothes and an expensive car, a distinct counterpoint to Orbach’s rumpled Lennie Briscoe," the story reports. "Farina was on ‘Law & Order’ for two years, partnered with Jesse L. Martin’s Ed Green. Martin’s character became a senior detective after Farina left the show."
The report adds: "In recent years, Farina was one of the stars of ‘Luck,’ the ill-fated HBO series about horse racing, and had an occasional role on the Fox series ‘New Girl.’"