Monday, July 29, 2013

RIP Dennis Farina

Dennis Farina [69] was a Chicago-born actor of Sicilian-American descent. He had a prolific career on Television and in movies often typecast as a mobster or a police officer. He was a "tough-guy", known for his craggy face, steel-grey hair and ample moustache.

Farina served in the U.S. Army and later as Chicago Police Officer for 18 years. It was the latter profession which landed him a gig as a consultant to Micheal Mann for whom he worked on for Crime Story as Lt. Mike Torello and a recurring role on Miami Vice as Lombard.

He had many other roles on Television with appearances on Hardcastle and McCormick, Remington Steele and China Beach but will be remembered more recently for a two-year stint as Det. Joe Fontana on Law & Order.

Among his most memorable silver-screen roles were: Jimmy Serrano in Midnight Run [1988], Capt. Detillo in Striking Distance [1993], Ray "Bones" Barboni in Get Shorty [1995], Lt.Col. Anderson in Saving Private Ryan [1998] and Abraham "Avi" Denovitz in Snatch [2000].

Farina made news in 2008, for carrying a loaded .22 caliber pistol through LAX screening. He was booked by the LAPD on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon. He claimed he had simply forgotten the weapon was still in his briefcase and had never intended to take it on a plane. After police determined the weapon was unregistered, the charges were upgraded to a felony and Farina was sentenced to two years' probation.

Farina died on July 22, 2013, in a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona after suffering a pulmonary embolism. He is survived by his 3 adult children and grandchildren from his marriage to Patricia Farina whom he divorced in 1980.  He also has two granddaughters and four grandsons. Farina's rep said the actor is also survived by "the love of his life of 35 years, Marianne Cahill."

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