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Dennis Farina: He Didn’t Just Play a Detective on TV

475px-Dennis_Farina_by_David_ShankboneSome actors are pretty good at playing hard-boiled, streetwise police detectives. Dennis Farina, who died on July 22 at age 69 in Scottsdale, Ariz., actually was a hard-boiled, streetwise police detective who also turned out to be a pretty good actor.

The Chicago native, an 18-year veteran of his city’s police force who took up acting as a second career, was best known for his stint from 2004 to 2006 on the long-running NBC police procedural Law & Order.

See also: TV for Grownups: The Summer Lineup

Farina portrayed investigator Joe Fontana, a silver-haired dandy who affected expensive imported loafers and finely tailored suits, and could wax poetically about subjects ranging from Italian pastry to the intricate science of racetrack wagering.

Beneath the character’s glibness and urbane sophistication, however, Farina infused him with a menacing intensity that at times seemed frighteningly believable.

But that was just one of his 75 television and film roles in an acting career that began in 1981, when he portrayed a thug named Carl in director Michael Mann’s movie Thief. Here are some interesting facts about Farina and the rough justice he so skillfully enforced on the screen.


Here’s an interview that Dennis Farina did at the 2011 Chicago Film Festival:


Photo: David Shankbone via Wikipedia


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