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Dennis Farina, 'Law & Order' actor, dies at 69

By Todd Leopold, CNN
updated 3:50 AM EDT, Tue July 23, 2013
Dennis Farina has died, his representative said Monday, July 22. He was 69. Above, Farina shoots a scene as Detective Joe Fontana in "Law & Order" in 2004. Dennis Farina has died, his representative said Monday, July 22. He was 69. Above, Farina shoots a scene as Detective Joe Fontana in "Law & Order" in 2004.
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Remembering Dennis Farina
Remembering Dennis Farina
Remembering Dennis Farina
Remembering Dennis Farina
Remembering Dennis Farina
Remembering Dennis Farina
Remembering Dennis Farina
Remembering Dennis Farina
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Actor Dennis Farina was known for cop and tough-guy roles
  • Farina played Joe Fontana on "Law & Order"
  • Actor was longtime Chicago police officer who went into acting

(CNN) -- Dennis Farina, the dapper, mustachioed cop-turned-actor best known for his tough-as-nails work in such TV series as "Law & Order," "Crime Story," and "Miami Vice," has died. He was 69.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of a great actor and a wonderful man," said his publicist, Lori De Waal, in a statement Monday. "Dennis Farina was always warmhearted and professional, with a great sense of humor and passion for his profession. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues."

Farina, who had a long career as a police officer in Chicago, got into acting through director Michael Mann, who used him as a consultant and cast him in his 1981 movie, "Thief." That role led to others in such Mann-created shows as "Miami Vice" (in which Farina played a mobster) and "Crime Story" (in which he starred as Lt. Mike Torello).

Farina also had roles, generally as either cops or gangsters, in a number of movies, including "Midnight Run" (1988), "Get Shorty" (1995), "The Mod Squad" (1999) and "Snatch" (2000).

In 2004, he joined the cast of the long-running "Law & Order" after Jerry Orbach's departure, playing Detective Joe Fontana, a role he reprised on the spinoff "Trial by Jury." Fontana was known for flashy clothes and an expensive car, a distinct counterpoint to Orbach's rumpled Lennie Briscoe.

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