Dennis Farina, the Chicago born police officer turned character actor, died Monday. He was 69.
The mustachioed actor was known for playing criminals or police officers, most recently on the original Law & Order series.
Farina replaced Jerry Orbach on the show whose character retired. His character Det. Joe Fontana wasn’t as popular as Orbach’s Lenny Briscoe, and Farina left the show after two years.
Farina worked in the burglary division in the Chicago Police Department from 1967 to 1985. The Italian-American worked as a police consultant for Michael Mann which landed him a tiny role in the 1981 film Thief. At 37, Farina changed careers and became an actor.
Some of Farina’s notable roles include detective Mike Torello on the television show Crime Story, mob boss Jimmy Serrano in the movie Midnight Run and Ray Barboni, a rival to John Travolta’s character Chili Palmer in Get Shorty – for which he won an American Comedy Award.
His flair for comedy can also be seen in the HBO movie Empire Falls, along side Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz in What Happens in Vegas and in the indie movie Bottle Shock.
Farina was born in Chicago, IL to Iolanda and Joseph, who was a Sicilian immigrant. He leaves behind three children.