The Great Dennis Farina Has Died

Peter Martin, Managing Editor

Dennis Farina, a former Chicago police officer turned actor, has died. His representative told the Associated Press that he "died Monday morning in a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital after suffering a blood clot in his lung."

Farina served in the Chicago Police Department, reportedly for 18 years. His first acting appearance came in Michael Mann's Thief in 1981. Mann cast him as Jack Crawford in 1986's Manhunter, but his big breakthrough came as Lt. Mike Torello in TV's Crime Story. Mann served as executive producer, which was co-created by Chuck Adamson, who had been one of Farina's police partners.

That show was the first time I saw Farina, who exhibited crisp command and absolute authenticity as the head of Chicago's Major Crimes Unit in the early 1960s. And it was a little bit shocking to learn that he had so little experience as an actor. He always seemed like a natural, no matter what type of character he was playing.

My favorites include his turns in Martin Brest's superb Midnight Run and Barry Sonnenfield's witty Get Shorty, but even when all he was required to do was show up (basically) in small roles -- as in a recent two-episode run on TV's New Girl -- his absolute, grizzled, charming authority, grounded in hard-bitten reality, remained his defining, very appealing characteristic.

Dennis Farina was 69.

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  • mightyjoeyoung

    "Dennis Farina, a former Chicago police officer turned actor, has died."

    2013 has had some crappy moments, first James Gandolfini, and now Farina.

    Farina was usually typecasted as cops (no surprise there), and gangsters (or gagsters if you look at his funny performances in Snatch(2000), or even funnier in Get Shorty(1995) but he did a great job in these roles.

    He did other stuff in Out of Sight(1998), Saving Private Ryan (1998)
    etc, no big parts but great work all the time.

    I´m going to miss him, there´s no doubt about that.......even in uncredited roles like in Romeo Is Bleeding(1993) he shined.

    http://youtu.be/OxyMuItB-sQ

    RIP, and thanks for a great job, Mr Farina.

    Thanks, Mr Martin.

  • Greg Rivera

    Rest in peace; I also liked him in Manhunter and Crime Story, and his turn in Midnight Run was arguably the best part of that great movie, he was equal parts funny and scary as the film's villain. He will be missed.

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