Law & Order star dead at 69

Last updated 07:46 23/07/2013
Dennis Farina.
Getty Images
PASSED: A 2012 file photo of actor Dennis Farina who has passed away, aged 69.

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Dennis Farina, a onetime Chicago cop who as a popular actor played a cop on Law & Order, has died.

Farina died overnight (NZ time) in a Scottsdale, Arizona, hospital after suffering a blood clot in his lung, according to his publicist, Lori De Waal. He was 69.

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 appeared in films including Get Shorty, Saving Private Ryan, Midnight Run and Out Of Sight.

Among his many TV portrayals was Detective Joe Fontana on Law & Order during the 2004-06 seasons. He 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.

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

Born February 29, 1944, in Chicago, he was a city detective before he found his way into the acting profession as he neared his forties.

His first film was the 1981 action drama Thief, directed by Michael Mann, whom he had met through a mutual friend while still working for the Chicago Police Department.

"I remember going to the set that day and being intrigued by the whole thing," Farina recalled in a 2004 interview. "I liked it. And everybody was extremely nice to me. If the people were rude and didn't treat me right, things could have gone the other way."

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

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- AP

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