By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Dennis Farina, shown as Detective Joe Fontana in 2004 on Law & Order, has died at age 69
Dennis Farina, a onetime Chicago policeman who went on to play a cop on Law & Order, has died at 69.
He passed away on Monday morning in a Scottsdale, Arizona hospital after suffering a blood clot in his lung, according to his publicist.
Farina for three decades was a character actor who combined remarkable dexterity and charm with toughness.
The actor put his craggy face, steel-gray hair, ivory smile and ample mustache to good use in many popular films, including: Snatch, Saving Private Ryan, Midnight Run and Out Of Sight.
He also had memorable roles in Get Shorty and the Cameron Diaz film What Happens In Vegas, showing his flair for comedy.
Farina was perhaps best known for playing Detective Joe Fontana on Law & Order during the 2004-06 seasons, one of many roles in his lengthy television career.
'I was stunned and saddened to hear about Dennis’ unexpected passing this morning,' said Law & Order creator Dick Wolf in a statement on Monday. 'The Law & Order family extends sympathy and condolences to his family. He was a great guy.'
Dennis was a police officer in Chicago before going on to portray a detective on Law & Order
Farina also starred in the 1980s cult favorite Crime Story and was a regular in the 2011-12 HBO drama Luck.
He recently completed shooting a comedy, Lucky Stiff.
Farina was a veteran of the Chicago theater and appeared in Joseph Mantegna's Bleacher Bums and Streamers, directed by Terry Kinney, among other productions.
He was born on Feb. 29, 1944, in Chicago and was a city detective before he found his way into the acting profession as he neared his forties.
His first film was the 1981 action drama Thief, directed by Michael Mann, whom he had met through a mutual friend while still working for the Chicago Police Department.
'I remember going to the set that day and being intrigued by the whole thing,' Farina recalled in a 2004 interview. 'I liked it. And everybody was extremely nice to me. If the people were rude and didn't treat me right, things could have gone the other way.'
Farina is survived by three sons, six grandchildren and his longtime partner, Marianne Cahill.
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