Dennis Farina Has Died

Dennis Farina died Monday morning of a blood clot in his lung, at the age of 69. A 18 year veteran of the Chicago Police force, he became one of those actors who embodied the best of what it meant to be a character actor. He had all the talent and charm of a lead, and occasionally was. But he was a consignment rock in the roles he was best known for, and his involvement in a project meant at least one thing you could count on.

He was one of my favourite actors, and after the retirement and death of Jerry Orbach, his casting in Law & Order, I thought was an inspired choice, a dedicated move not to replace Orbach with a Briscoe clone, but an entirely different sort of character. He remained with the show for only two years, but was fantastic while he was there, like he was in most things. Often cast as a cop, an assassin or a wise guy, Farina was almost always the tough; the wise ass, combative, antagonistic character who talked shit. I enjoyed him most in his comedic roles, which he played the straight man, and did so well, in films like Get Shorty and Big Trouble, and his most recent role as Nick's dad on New Girl, a character that was rather presciently killed off after only a single appearance. One of my favourite of his roles was that of Jennifer Lopez's father in Out of Sight, where he has only a few scenes, but allowed him to show the gentler loving side of his ability, lacking his usual gruffness. And still managed to intimidate Michael Keaton.

Mob and cop movies won't be the same without him. And Elmore Leonard's works have lost an archetypal sort of character.

Via CBC.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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