US Law and Order star Dennis Farina dies

Dennis Farina, a former Chicago policeman who played a TV cop on Law And Order during his wide-ranging career, has died at the age of 69.

His publicist, Lori de Waal said he died in hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona, after suffering a blood clot in his lung.

Dennis’s many films include Saving Private Ryan, Out Of Sight, Midnight Run, Manhunter, and his breakout film Get Shorty, a comedic romp in which he played a Miami mob boss.

He recently completed shooting a comedy film, Lucky Stiff, and among his numerous TV roles was Detective Joe Fontana on Law And Order.

Dennis also guest-starred on the Fox comedy New Girl last season. One of the sitcom’s stars, Jake Johnson, said: “He is someone I will surely miss. I looked up to him personally and professionally… We all will miss out.”

He found his way into acting in his 40s after three years in the US Army and 18 years with the Chicago Police Department both as a uniformed officer (he was there for the 1968 Chicago riots) and a burglary detective.

The actor’s first role was as a henchman in crime drama Thief and at the time was earning some extra money to his police salary by working as a security guard. He still worked as a detective while taking occasional acting roles, and even took a leave of absence from the Chicago police to star in Crime Story before he made the full-time acting plunge.

“If I’m characterised as a character actor, that’s fine with me,” he said in 2007. “Whatever they want to call me is fine. In the kind of roles I do, you can do them and walk away from it and have a really nice time.”

Dennis is survived by three sons, six grandchildren and his long-time partner, Marianne Cahill.