George Clooney’s TV dad James Farentino dies

TV veteran James Farentino has died. The New York native passed away after suffering from a long illness. He was 73 years old.

James Farentino

George Clooney has lost his faux papa. James Farentino, who played the actor’s estranged father on ER has died.

Farentino’s resume boasts over 100 projects including the film The Pad and How to Use It, for which he won a Golden Globe, and TV’s Dynasty.

The actor was born Feb. 24, in Brooklyn, New York and began his career on Broadway. After training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he made his stage debut in 1961’s The Night of the Iguana.

When he traveled to Hollywood, Farentino was one of the last contract performers signed to Universal Pictures.

The actor’s life off-screen was almost as tumultuous as some of his characters. He was married four times, which includes a union to actress Michele Lee.

Lee is best known for her role as Karen MacKenzie on the primetime soap Knots Landing. In 1992, the duo co-starred in the made-for-TV movie, When No One Would Listen.

Unfortunately, all of Farentino’s relationships weren’t so civil. According to The Los Angeles Times, in 1994, the actor was charged with “24 misdemeanor counts of stalking, making harassing phone calls and violating a restraining order” of ex-girlfriend Tina Sinatra (Frank Sinatra‘s daughter).

He was ordered to undergo psychiatric and alcohol counseling, and placed on 36 months probation. Years later in 2003, Farentino discussed the incident and how it negatively affected his career.

“My behavior was appalling — feeling so hurt and rejected that I was the victim when I really wasn’t. So you inflict your pain on someone else to make them identify with you.”

He continued, “There are people in this business that for years said, ‘He’s an alcoholic. He’s a drunk. He stalked Tina.’ Clamps were put on me in many ways.”

Farentino used the Hollywood downtime to focus on what he loved — family and theater.

Farentino died Tuesday, from heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He’s survived by wife Stella, and sons David and Saverio.

Photo credit: WENN


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