Dennis Farina, who starred as Det. Joe Fontana on 'Law & Order' and appeared in dozens of feature films, passed away earlier today due to a blood clot in his lung. Farina was sixty-nine years old.
Farina died at his home in Scotsdale, Arizona. He is survived by three adult children born of his marriage to Patricia Farina, a union which ended in 1980.
Farina joined 'Law & Order' in 2004 and stayed with the series for forty-six episodes. His character, Fontana, became an immediate fan-favorite and audiences were saddened when Farina left the series in 2006. Those same fans are undoubtedly saddened today to learn of the loss of this great talent. After his tenure on 'Law & Order,' Farina starred on the short-lived HBO series 'Luck' opposite Dustin Hoffman. Most recently, Farina appeared in two episodes of 'New Girl' as Walt Miller, the father to the lead character Nick.
Prior to becoming an actor, Farina served eighteen years with the Chicago Police Department's Burglary Division. While serving as a police consultant with filmmaker Michael Mann, Mann offered Farina a small role in 'Thief' back in 1981. Farina took to acting and became a regular face in the Chicago theatre scene before hitting it big on 'Miami Vice.'
Some of Farina's most memorable film roles include Jimmy Serrano from 'Midnight Run' and Ray "Bones" Barboni in the John Travolta comedy 'Get Shorty.' In 2011 Farina starred in the feature film 'The Last Rites of Joe May,' which will now be his last feature film appearance. Farina was currently working on 'Lucky Stiff,' which hadn't completed filming at the time of his tragic passing.