Dennis Farina, a former police officer who rose to fame in TV’s Crime Story and the big-screen Midnight Run in the mid-’80s, then went on to create memorable roles on Law & Order, Luck and most recently New Girl, died Monday at age 69.
News of Farina’s passing was first published by the Associated Press; the cause of death was reportedly a blood clot in his lung.
Born in 1944 in Chicago, Farina worked for that city’s police force for 18 years before switching gears and becoming an actor, where he frequently played law-enforcement or mobster type roles.
He rose to fame as Lt. Mike Torello in Michael Mann’s period drama Crime Story, as well as through his role as Jack Crawford in the first Hannibal Lecter movie Manhunter, and mob boss Jimmy Serrano in Midnight Run.
More recently, Farina’s Det. Joe Fonatana was introduced in 2004 as a pseudo-replacement to Law & Order‘s Lennie Briscoe (played by the late Jerry Orbach); Farina’s character failed to catch on with viewers and he was written out after two seasons.
Farina’s last regular series role was on HBO’s ill-fated Luck, though he appeared in two Season 2 episodes of New Girl as Nick’s dad, and had just been announced as a Family Guy Season 12 voice.
RIP Dennis Farina. What a tremendous loss.
— jake johnson (@MrJakeJohnson) July 22, 2013
What are some of your favorite memories of Farina’s long and illustrious career? Share with your fellow readers in the comments.