Renowned character actor Dennis Farina has died aged 69 in Scottsdale, Arizona, having developed a blood clot on his lung.
A former Chicago police officer, Farina made the move into acting in his late 30s, scoring his first credited role in Michael Mann’s 1981 film, Thief .
“I remember going to the set that day and being intrigued by the whole thing," said Farina of his acting debut. "I liked it. And everybody was extremely nice to me. If the people were rude and didn't treat me right, things could have gone the other way.”
Famed for playing sweary, tough-talking cops and crims, Farina excelled in the likes of Midnight Run and Get Shorty , films that allowed him to show off a real flair for comedy alongside a ruthless streak to be reckoned with.
He was a mainstay of TV cop show Law & Order , and more recently made a couple of well-received performances opposite Zooey Deschanel in New Girl . However, it is his storied cinematic career for which he will be best remembered.
“I am completely devastated about Dennis Farina’s passing,” said Deschanel yesterday. “I was lucky to have witnessed his charm and brilliance.”
Michael McKean was another to pay tribute on Twitter. “Dennis Farina,” tweeted the actor. “Damn. Good actor, good guy.”
Meanwhile, director Paul Feig summed up Farina’s talents with the following tribute: “So sad about Dennis Farina. He was a perfect mix of funny and tough. An incredibly talented man.”
Farina is survived by his long-term partner Marianne Cahill, three sons and six grandchildren. Our thoughts go out to them.