Monday, July 22, 2013

Dennis Farina, RIP

Just got word that veteran character actor Dennis Farina, a hometown boy from Chicago, has passed away at the age of 69. Farina had one of those faces that everyone who watched TV or movies knew even if they didn't know his name. An eighteen year veteran of the Chicago police force in his pre-acting years, he was able to use that accrued real world experience to segue seamlessly into a thirty-plus year career of embodying memorable characters on both sides of the legal divide, playing hoods in films like Get Shorty, Big Trouble, and law dogs in Out of Sight, Manhunter, and more.

As longtime Law & Order watchers know, Farina had the not-inconsiderable job of following up Lennie Brisco in the "lead detective" role after actor Jerry Orbach, and did so for two seasons from 2004 to 2006 as the stylish Joe Fontana (opposite Jesse L. Martin). In addition to headlining such series as Crime Story in 1986, and Buddy Faro in 1998, Farina made guest appearances on everything from Miami Vice to the animated Justice League (wherein he voiced veteran superhero Wildcat). Farina was able to embody equal parts credibility, authority, and humor without needing to do much. His passing is a real loss for fans.

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