Famed character actor Dennis Farina has died at 69, reports CBS Chicago. The Chicago-native was known for his roles in Law & Order, Snatch and Manhunter.
In 2011 Farina told ABC 7 about his happiness:
I believe I’m the luckiest guy in the world, and I wake up and thank God for everything that’s happening, you know, I don’t take anything for granted.
Here’s what you need to know…
1. He Suffered a Blood Clot in His Lung
TMZ reports that Farina died in Scottsdale, Arizona as a result of a blood clot in his lung. His death was confirmed by his representative, Lori De Waal.
2. Farina Was an 18-Year Veteran of the Chicago PD
Prior to becoming an actor, Farina was an 18-year veteran with the Chicago Police Department from 1967-85. He served in the burglary division. Prior to that, The Chicago Tribune reports, that Farina spent three years in the army, allegedly to “get it out of the way.”
3. He Started Out as a Police Consultant on Movies
His acting career began when he met director Michael Mann. Farina began as a police consultant on Mann’s movies.
4. His First Major Role Was on Miami Vice
Words cannot express how I feel about the passing of my dear friend Dennis Farina. He was like a brother to me. I'm in shock..
— Joe Mantegna (@JoeMantegna) July 22, 2013
Mann helped Farina take his career a step further by casting him in an episode of Miami Vice. He was 37 when his acting career began.
5. He Was One of Hollywood’s Most Prolific Character Actors
He then-began a hugely successful acting career starring in movies such as Saving Private Ryan, Get Shorty, Midnight Run, Out of Sight and Snatch.
NBC Chicago described him as an 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.
6. He Then Moved into a Successful TV Career
More recently in 2012, he starred in HBO’s plagued horse racing show Luck, the show canceled after one season following a three horse deaths on the set. On the show Farina played Gus Demitriou.
In 2012, he made a guest appearance in New Girl with Zooey Deschanel. Also in 2012, he won the Commitment to Chicago tribute at the Chicago Film Critics awards.
7. He’s Most Famous for His Role on Law & Order
In 2004, Farina joined the cast of Law & Order, as Det. Joe Fontana. Like Farina, Fontana was an ex-Chicago detective, in the show Fontana transfered to the NYPD. There were frequent references on the show to Farina’s native neighborhood in Chicago. He left the show in 2006.
8. Farina is Survived by Three Sons
Farina was married in 1970 to Patricia, together they had three sons, Dennis Farina Jr., Michael Farina, and Joseph Farina. His youngest son, Joseph, is also an actor. Farina was divorced in 1980.
According to TMZ, Farina is also survived by:
the love of his life of 35 years, Marianne Cahill. It doesn’t appear the two were ever married.
9. He Was Arrested in 2008 For Trying to Bring a Gun on a Flight
In 2008, Farina was arrested in LAX airport for possession of a firearm. He claimed he had forgotten it was in his briefcase and never intended to bring on board his flight. The firearm was unregistered which left to felony charges. He pleaded no contest in 2009 and received two years probation.
10. Farina was a First Generation American
Farina was the son of Sicilian immigrants, Joseph and Yolanda Farina. His father was a doctor and his mother a homemaker. He was born in Chicago on February 29 1944 and grew up in a neighborhood dominated by Italian and German immigrants. In 1998 he spoke of his pride at being from Chicago to the Sun-Times:
Chicago is a state of mind,I’m sure New Yorkers feel that way about New York, but I think Chicagoans are even more adamant about it. You know the first thing a Chicagoan tells you is, `I’m from Chicago!’ And then the questions come if they discover you’re one, too. `What parish are you from? What ward are you from? Who’s your alderman?’
See? It is a state of mind. After all, is there anything better than the Art Institute? Or walking through Lincoln Park? Or getting a hot dog or a beef sandwich?