Dennis Farina Has Died

Respected character thesp was 69

Dennis Farina

by James White |
Published on

A tough guy with a winning smile. A master of controlled frustration. A versatile character actor with a range of great performances on his CV despite getting into performing as a second career. A champion swear-slinger. The world has lost all of these with the death of Dennis Farina at the age of 69.

Originally born Donaldo Gugliermo in Chicago, Farina didn’t start out wanting to become an actor. After serving three years in the military, he worked in the Chicago Police Department for 18 years, once cracking wise that he was such a bad shot, he earned the nickname “The Great Wounder".

And then he happened to cross paths with Michael Mann. Originally hired as a consultant on Thief, Farina became interested in acting, and eventually scored the role of Carl, and launching a successful second act. He turned to theatre to hone his chops, and worked on films such as Code Of Silence, Midnight Run, Striking Distance, Get Shorty, Out Of Sight, Saving Private Ryan, and more recently, You Kill Me and Bottle Shock.

On television, he won a choice role and showed real talent in Crime Story, while also popping up in guest shots on the likes of Miami Vice and** **Tales From The Crypt. The small screen would help shape his career further when he landed one of the key roles on long-running drama Law & Order, appearing as Detective Joe Fontana for 46 episodes. He was also part of the cast for David Milch’s horse-racing drama Luck.

“Some people approach acting with all these things in their head, making it more complicated than it needs to be, way too cerebral,” he once said. “I don't want to know that an actor lived in a cave for 12 days so that he could prepare for a part.”

Our thoughts are with his family.

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