Actor Dennis Farina, an actual Chicago police officer who also played cops (and robbers) on TV, has died after suffering a blood clot in his lung. Farina is one of the all-time great "That Guys," a classic character actor who even if don't know his name, you are definitely familiar with his work. He appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows in his 30-plus years of acting and had a particular talent for delivering a well-executed threat or a perfectly timed curse word.
His most memorable film performances were as mobster Jimmy Serrano in Midnight Run, as mobster "Bones" Barboni in Get Shorty, and as a "Cousin Avi", a (wannabe) mobster in Snatch. He played good guys too, playing a cop on '80s TV series Crime Story, an FBI agent in the movie Manhunter, and as Detective Joe Fontana in the final seasons of Law & Order.
His affinity for playing cops and criminals probably had something to do with the fact that he spent 18 years on the Chicago police force before director Michael Mann hired him as a consultant and then started casting him in his projects. There's plenty of evidence of his work to be found online, including the clip below, though you should be warned that the language is definitely not safe for work or easily offended ears.
According to a statement from his agents, Farina is survived by three adult children, six grandchildren, and "the love of his life of 35 years, Marianne Cahill." He was 69 years old.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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