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‘Law and Order’ Star Dennis Farina Dead at 69

Dennis Farina
Warner Bros.

Dennis Farina, the hugely recognizable veteran of film and television, has passed away at the age of 69. Over the course of his 32-year career, Farina specialized in playing cops and other authority figures, utilizing his background in law enforcement to springboard into acting.

Farina got his start working as a police consultant for Hollywood filmmakers, which led to him getting cast in a small role in Michael Mann’s ‘Thief.’ From there, he entered the acting scene full-force, leaving behind an 18-year career in the Chicago police department. He appeared in various film and television projects before being cast as Lt. Mike Torello in the Mann-produced series ‘Crime Story’ in 1986. He immediately followed up that series with a memorable performance in ‘Midnight Run.’

He continued to work throughout the ’90s, appearing in films like ‘Get Shorty,’ ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and ‘Snatch.’ In 2004, he joined the cast of ‘Law and Order’ as Detective Joe Fontana. His final major TV role came in HBO’s critically acclaimed but short-lived series ‘Luck,’ but he also had a brief but memorable stint on ‘The New Girl.’

Although he was never a star, Farina was always a reliable and likable presence, the kind of talent who elevated every project he was a part of. Hollywood has lost one of its great character actors and the world of TV cops and criminals will never be the same.

Farina is survived by three sons and six grandchildren.

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