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Dennis Farina
Dennis Farina 2011 Shankbone.JPG
Farina at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, April 2011
Born (1944-02-29)February 29, 1944
Died July 22, 2013(2013-07-22) (aged 69)
Cause of death Pulmonary embolism
Resting place Mount Carmel Cemetery, Hillside, Illinois, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names Denny Farina
Occupation Actor
Years active 1981 – 2013
Known for Detective Joe Fontana on Law & Order
Spouse(s) Patricia Farina (m. 1970-1980, divorced)
Partner(s) Marianne Cahill
Children 3 sons

Dennis Farina (February 29, 1944 – July 22, 2013) was an American actor and former Chicago police officer. He was known for his role as Detective Joe Fontana on Law & Order. Farina was also in Get Shorty, Manhunter, Eddie, and Saving Private Ryan.

Early life

Farina was born on February 29, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois. He was of Sicilian descent. Farina was a police officer from 1967 through 1985.


Farina became an actor in 1981 as Carl in Thief. He would later appear in Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan (as Army Lieutenant Colonel Walter Anderson), Striking Distance, Another Stakeout, Little Big League, Snatch, The Mod Squad, Big Trouble and Out of Sight. He co-starred with Bette Midler in the romantic comedy That Old Feeling.

Law & Order

The producers of the long-running television series Law & Order hired Farina as Det. Joe Fontana after the retirement of Jerry Orbach's character Lennie Briscoe. Farina stayed with the show for two years, but his character was not as popular with viewers as Orbach's Lennie Briscoe had been. As a result, in May 2006, it was announced that Farina was leaving Law & Order to work on other projects.

Personal life

Farina was married to Patricia Farina from 1970 until they divorced in 1980. They had three children. Farina was arrested on May 11, 2008, for carrying a loaded .22 caliber pistol through Los Angeles International Airport security. On July 17, 2009, the judge in his case dismissed the charge and erased it from Farina's otherwise clean record.


Farina died on July 22, 2013 in a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona, from a pulmonary embolism. He was 69 years old. Farina is buried at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.

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