Law and Order actor Dennis Farina dies aged 69


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The Independent Culture

The American actor Dennis Farina, a former Chicago policeman best known for playing tough guy roles on both sides of the law, has died aged 69.

Farina, who spent 18 years as a police officer before becoming a film and screen actor aged 39, will be familiar to many as police detective Joe Fontana from New York cop show Law and Order.

He played mobster roles in 1988 film Midnight Run and Get Shorty in the mid-nineties.

His other film credits include Saving Private Ryan, Out of Sight and the Michael Mann film Thief.

Farina put his experience as a police officer to good use in the 1980s television series Crime Story.

He recently appeared alongside Dustin Hoffman in HBO programme Luck, made a brief appearance in New Girl with Zooey Deschanel.

His last role was in Lucky Stiff, a forthcoming comedy with Jason Alexander.

Born on 29 February 1944, Farina was raised in a working-class neighborhood of Chicago, the seventh child of Italian immigrants.

A veteran of the Chicago theatre, Farina appeared in Joseph Mantegna's Bleacher Bums and Streamers, directed by Terry Kinney, among other productions.

After three years in the US Army, he served with the Chicago Police Department for 18 years, both as a uniformed officer (he was there for the 1968 Chicago riots) and a burglary detective, before he found his way into acting.

Farina leaves his wife, Marina, three sons and six grandchildren.