Law & Order star Dennis Farina dies at age 69

Jul 22, 2013 at 3:27 p.m. ET

Television and film has lost another great actor. Dennis Farina, who's done character work on the big and small screen, has died. This morning, the news was confirmed by his publicist.

Dennis Farina

Unexpected deaths continue to rock Hollywood. Shortly after the passing of James Gandolfini and Cory Monteith, actor Dennis Farina has also died. Monday, Farina's publicist Lori De Waal confirmed the actor passed away in Arizona at the age of 69.

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In 1944, Farina was born into a large family with six siblings. He was the child of Joseph and Yolanda Farina, a doctor and homemaker. He grew up in a working-class neighborhood that was ethnically diverse — it consisted of mostly Italians and German-Americans.

The last time most of us saw Farina was on Fox's New Girl, where he played Jake Johnson's (Nick) eccentric father. The veteran actor was a native of Chicago, and was a police officer long before becoming a thespian. According to the Chicago Tribune, Farina served 18 years on the force, while dabbling in theater.

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That real-life experience would come in handy for his future roles. Farina is most famous for playing characters that put him on the right or wrong side of the law. He starred in the TV series Crime Story and Law & Order as well as the films Midnight Run, Get Shorty, Snatch and Saving Private Ryan.

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His last regular role was as Gus Demitriou on HBO's short-lived Luck. Farina's cause of death was due to a blood clot in his lung. The actor is survived by three children, six grandchildren and his longtime love Marianne Cahill.

Were you a fan of Dennis Farina's work? What was your favorite role?

Photo credit: WENN