Many may know him as ‘Vic Terranova’ from the ‘Hunter’ television series in the 80s. Millions more may know that handsome, mustached smile from his ‘Law & Order’ role as ‘Detective Joe Fontana.’ Dennis Farina died today at the age of 69.
Farina died in Scottsdale, Arizona after suffering a blood clot in his lung. Born in 1944, the Chicagoan made an impact in Hollywood later in his life. Previous to his film accolades, Farina was a police officer with the Chicago Police Department from 1967 until he retired in 1985.
He was hired by Michael Mann as a police consultant, Mann discovered Farina had a natural talent for the camera. With his good looks and smoldering smile, Farina eventually landed a movie role. Although, a fantastic method actor, he is mostly remembered as “that mob guy” or a police officer in movies. He was well loved by friends and family throughout his career and many more will grieve his death today.
Farina was raised surrounded by his large Italian family, who supported his decisions in life from law enforcement to acting. Reporters who sat down with the Hollywood icon always described Farina as a “teddy bear” and a “lover, not a fighter.” Farina loved watching mob movies, referring to the ‘Godfather’ as a favorite in previous interviews. He stated of those he admired, “When I was a kid going to the movies, we’d go to a movie because somebody was in it. Bogart was in the movie, or Cagney, or John Wayne. We didn’t know what the story was about or anything. It was just, ‘Let’s go see Bogart. He’s in a movie.'”
In today’s sad news, many more will remember his hand gestures, genuine smile and iconic platinum mane. The actor never wanted to become the next “big thing,” he enjoyed acting because it brought something to life, he stated in previous interviews. He enjoyed slipping into character and having fun with the role.
Farina had his minor troubles outside of the spotlight. In 2008 he was arrested for suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon through LAX. In 2009 the charges were dropped and his name and the record were expunged. Farina, was one of those guys who always hovered above the expected Hollywood scene. Much too often, actors have marred paths during their success. Farina had stumbled once, recovered and maintained a respectable example.
Actors are already hitting Twitter today to honor and compliment the man who made movies fun and interesting:
- Jake Johnson @MrJakeJohnson
RIP Dennis Farina. What a tremendous loss.
- Debi Mazar @debimazar
R.I.P Dennis Farina Such a presence in person..charming and so handsome…great talent. Condolences to his family.
- John Henson (@John_Henson)
R.I.P. Dennis Farina. I hope ‘Serrano’s got the disks’ in Heaven. #MidnightRun #RIPDennisFarina
- Kumail Nanjiani @kumailn
Dennis Farina?!?!? Dammit. RIP sir. Heaven has another awesome mustache now.
Farina has three sons from a previous marriage who survive him and millions of fans who adored him. Details will continually emerge over the next few days about the man who started later in life as an actor and died as a well-loved one. RIP Dennis Farina.