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'Law & Order' star Dennis Farina dies at 69 of blood clot in lungs

| Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
In this Jan. 25, 2012 file photo, Dennis Farina arrives at the premiere for the HBO television series 'Luck' in Los Angeles. Farina died suddenly on Monday, July 22, 2013, in Scottsdale, AZriz., after suffering a blood clot in his lung. He was 69.

NEW YORK — Dennis Farina, a onetime Chicago cop who as a popular character actor played a TV cop on “Law & Order” during his wide-ranging career, has died.

Death occurred Monday morning in a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital. Farina suffered a blood clot in his lung, according to his publicist, Lori De Waal. He was 69.

For three decades, Farina was a character actor who displayed remarkable dexterity, charm and toughness, making effective use of his craggy face, husky frame, ivory smile and ample mustache.

He could be as dapper as Fred Astaire and as full of threat as Clint Eastwood. His gift has been described as wry, tough-guy panache, and audiences loved him for it.

Farina's many films include “Saving Private Ryan,” (1998), “Out Of Sight” (1998), “Midnight Run” (1988), “Manhunter” (1986) and his breakout and perhaps most beloved film, “Get Shorty” (1995), a comedic romp where he played a Miami mob boss.

He recently completed shooting a comedy film, “Lucky Stiff.”

Among his numerous TV roles was Detective Joe Fontana on “Law & Order” during the 2004-06 seasons, replacing longtime cast member Jerry Orbach in the ensemble.

“Law & Order” executive producer Dick Wolf said he was “stunned and saddened to hear about Dennis' unexpected passing this morning. The ‘Law & Order' family extends sympathy and condolences to his family.”

Also on TV, Farina was a regular in the star-studded though short-lived 2011-12 HBO horse-track drama “Luck.”

He starred in the 1980s cult favorite “Crime Story,” and his stylish private-eye drama “Buddy Faro” (1998) was warmly received if little-watched. He followed that up with a 2002 sitcom flop, “The In-Laws.”

Last season, he guest-starred on the Fox comedy “New Girl.”

A veteran of the Chicago theater, Farina appeared in Joseph Mantegna's “Bleacher Bums” and “Streamers,” directed by Terry Kinney, among other productions.

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