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Chicago cop-turned-actor Dennis Farina dies at 69

Dennis Farina, the former Chicago cop who went on to star in "Law & Order," "Luck" and numerous films, has died. He was 69.

Farina died Monday morning in Scottsdale, Ariz., after suffering a blood clot in his lung, his publicist Lori De Waal said Monday.

Born Feb. 29, 1944 in Chicago, Farina served with the Chicago Police Department for 18 years. While he was a detective he took parts on Chicago theater stages and in small movie and TV roles.

"The entire CPD family was saddened to hear of the passing of Dennis Farina, a legendary character actor who was a true-blue Chicago character," CPD Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy said in a statement Monday. "After an 18-year career in the Chicago Police Department, Dennis had a wonderful second act in life, bringing his distinctive Chicago voice and values to millions of people. No matter how far he got, Dennis never forgot where he came from, and while he was cherished by audiences around the world, he will always be first and foremost a guy from the Near North Side who helped make this city safer. We respect him for his service, we regard him for his talent, and we will remember him always."

After turning to acting full time in the 1980s, he often played police officers or mobsters. He appeared in such films as "Midnight Run," "Get Shorty," "Snatch" and "Saving Private Ryan." He recently produced and starred in the independent film "The Last Rites of Joe May."

In 2004, he succeeded Jerry Orbach on "Law & Order," playing Det. Joe Fontana for two years. In HBO's short-lived horse-racing drama "Luck," he gave an incredible performance as Gus Demitriou, the right-hand man to gangster Chester Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman). Last season, he guest-starred as Walt on Fox's "New Girl."

He is survived by three sons, six grandchildren and Marianne Cahill, described as "the love of his life of 35 years," according to TheWrap.

Donations can be sent to The 100 Club of Chicago, which assists the families of fallen police officers and firefighters of Cook County, in lieu of flowers.


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