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Actor Dennis Farina Dead at 69

Former police officer starred in 'Law and Order,' 'Luck'

July 22, 2013 3:00 PM ET
Dennis Farina
Dennis Farina
Marc Hauser Photography Ltd/Getty Images

Dennis Farina, a former police officer who starred as Detective Joe Fontana in Law and Order, has died after suffering a blood clot in his lung, The Associated Press reports. He was 69.

Farina was still a Chicago cop when he made his feature film debut, in 1981's Thief. After leaving the Chicago force in 1985, Farina carved out a career as a character actor with movie roles in Saving Private RyanGet ShortyMidnight Run and Out of Sight. Farina also starred in the short-lived drama Crime Story from 1986 to 1988. 

Photo: Dennis Farina in 'Get Shorty'

After playing Detective Fontana from 2004 to 2006 on Law and Order, Farina starred in HBO's ill-fated horse racing drama Luck as Gus Demitriou, the driver, enforcer and close associate for Chester "Ace" Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman). The show was canceled before finishing its first season after the death of a horse during production. Most recently, Farina had a recurring role in New Girl as Walt Miller, the father of Nick Miller (Jake Johnson).

Born on February 29th, 1944, in Chicago, Farina joined the city's police force in 1967 and served for 18 years. Farina died in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is survived by three sons, six grandchildren and his partner of 35 years, Marianne Cahill. Memorial services have not yet been announced.

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