Actor Dennis Farina, Star Of 'Law & Order,' Dies - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Actor Dennis Farina, Star Of 'Law & Order,' Dies

Posted: Updated:

NBCNEWS.COM - Actor Dennis Farina, the Chicago cop turned actor who played Det. Joe Fontana on TV's "Law & Order" and also starred in numerous movies, died Monday at age 69, his publicist tells NBC News. The cause of death was reportedly a blood clot in his lung.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of a great actor and a wonderful man," the statement from his publicist read. "Dennis Farina was always warm-hearted and professional, with a great sense of humor and passion for his profession. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and colleagues. We hope that he finds a new life where great roles are plentiful and the Cubs are always winning the pennant."

Farina died in Scottsdale, Ariz., and his girlfriend of 35 years, Marianne Cahill, was with him, his publicist says.

Before becoming an actor, Farina worked as a Chicago police officer for nearly 20 years. He was serving as a police consultant to movie director Michael Mann on the 1981 film "Thief" when Mann gave him a small role, which led to a rich acting career in which he mostly played policemen or mobsters.

In 2004 when Farina joined the uber-successful crime drama "Law & Order," he told TODAY's Katie Couric that he enjoyed the stylish detective he played. "I hope he's never defined, really, to tell you the truth," Farina told Couric.  "It's fun finding out myself what he's gonna do next or what characteristics he might have."

Recently, he starred in the HBO horse-racing series "Luck," and produced and starred in "The Last Rites of Joe May," an independent film. "Luck" was canceled in 2012 after three horses died during the making of the show. Farina also had a recurring role on Fox's "New Girl." He also starred in HBO's Golden Globe-winning miniseries, "Empire Falls."

His movie resume included "Get Shorty," "Saving Private Ryan," "Snatch" and "Midnight Run." He won an American Comedy Award for his "Get Shorty" role.

He also was a frequent face in Chicago theater.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:46:53 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
  • Carlton Complex Fire now 52% contained

    Carlton Complex Fire now 52% contained

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:45 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:45:02 GMT
    UPDATE: Officials say the massive wildfire that has destroyed about 150 homes in north-central Washington is now more than half contained.The rain and hail that fell on Wednesday, wasn't enough to extinguish the nearly 400-square-mile Carlton Complex of fires, but it gave crews a chance to dig lines along the south and east parts. The fire is 52% contained.>>
    UPDATE: Officials say the massive wildfire that has destroyed about 150 homes in north-central Washington is now more than half contained.The rain and hail that fell on Wednesday, wasn't enough to extinguish the nearly 400-square-mile Carlton Complex of fires, but it gave crews a chance to dig lines along the south and east parts. The fire is 52% contained.
    >>
  • Person injured by falling tree branches outside Spokane courthouse

    Person injured by falling tree branches outside Spokane courthouse

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:35 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:35:37 GMT
    One person was injured when strong winds caused tree branches to fall to the ground outside the Spokane County Courthouse in Wednesday afternoon.Fire crews and police officers told KHQ the person who was hit by the branches was quickly taken to the hospital.>>
    One person was injured when strong winds caused tree branches to fall to the ground outside the Spokane County Courthouse in Wednesday afternoon.Fire crews and police officers told KHQ the person who was hit by the branches was quickly taken to the hospital.>>