'Law & Order' Star Dennis Farina Dies at 69
Dennis Farina, a former Chicago police offer who starred on Law & Order, has died at 69 years old, the Associated Press reports via the actor's publicist.
The actor, who recently wrapped roles in New Girl and HBO's Luck, died in Scottsdale, Ariz., of a reported blood clot in his lung. The actor was one of Hollywood's more recognizable stars — even if you didn't know his name, you likely saw Farina star in high-profile films like 1995's Get Shorty, 1998's Saving Private Ryan, and 2000's Snatch.
Farina's acting success was likely a surprise to even Farina himself. The actor, who has said his high school acting career "lasted a day," began his career in Chicago's Police Department, where he served the the burglary division for 18 years. His introduction into Hollywood came via director Michael Mann (Collateral), with whom he worked as a police consultant.
It would prove to be a valuable relationship — after appearing in Mann's Thief in 1981, Farina locked in roles in both Crime Story and Miami Vice, both courtesy of the director. Those roles cemented Farina's part in small- and big-screen crime, leading to appearances in Get Shorty, Midnight Run, and more.
Farina's most recognizable role, however, would come years later, when the actor filled the detective role vacated by the late Jerry Orbach in Law & Order. Still, he impressed audiences with a recent arc on New Girl, playing Nick's father, and on Mann's short-lived horse-racing series, Luck.
Still, despite his Hollywood success, Farina never forgot his Chicago roots (the actor was known for his love for the Chicago Cubs), and his humble beginnings. “Acting, sometimes I think the whole thing’s a little overthought, overworked," he told The Star-Ledger in 2011. "I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m just not that deep. And I always play a certain kind of guy — which is fine, I can’t help what I look like or what I’ve done or where I’ve been. But maybe there’s something to be said for that, too ... Before you actually become an actor, you know, maybe there’s something to be said for having lived a life.”