R.I.P., Dennis Farina, the star who lived in the real world

as "Law & Order's" Detective Joe Fontana. (Paul Drinkwater / NBC via AP) Farina as “Law & Order’s” Detective Joe Fontana. (Paul Drinkwater / NBC)

 

 

“Before you actually become an actor, you know, maybe there’s something to be said for having lived a life.”

 

 

— Dennis Farina, speaking to the Newark Star-Ledger in 2011 about the accidental career move that made the former Chicago policeman one of the most familiar and beloved supporting actors in show business: A cop pal was working as an adviser on a movie whose director was “looking for a couple of rough, ugly guys to play henchmen. . . I called Dennis and said, ‘You gotta get down here.” That role launched Farina, then in his late 30s and recently divorced, to a long career in movies and TV (“Out of Sight,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Law & Order”) playing slick tough guys. He died Monday of a blood clot, but you’ll learn a lot from his obituary: Actor Dennis Farina dies at 69

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Michael Livingston · July 23, 2013