Dennis Farina, a Chicago native and police officer who turned to acting, has died at 69 in Arizona, his publicist said today.
Farina, best known as detective Joe Fontana on the long-running TV series “Law & Order,” suffered a blood clot in his lung, publicist Lori De Waal said.
Farina was an 18-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, a detective who moonlighted on Chicago theater stages and in small movie roles. In the 1980s he was on the NBC television series “Crime Story.”
He became a full-time actor much in demand for feature films (“Midnight Run,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Get Shorty,” “Snatch”), TV movies (“The Case of the Hillside Strangler,” “Empire Falls”) and TV series (“The In-Laws,” “Buddy Faro”).
He then became one of the stars of “Law & Order,” playing tough, nattily dressed Detective Joe Fontana.