'Law & Order' Star Dennis Farina Dead at 69

'Law & Order' Star Dennis Farina Dead at 69

Actor Dennis Farina, who pursued criminals for years as a Chicago cop and then on television's "Law & Order," died Monday at the age of 69.

Farina's representative said Farina died of a blood clot in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his longtime girlfriend, Marianne Cahill, beside him.

Farina was best known as Det. Joe Fontana on "Law & Order," and playing a police officer came naturally to him after 18 years in Chicago's force.

He started acting after serving as a police consultant to director Michael Mann, who hired him for a small part in his 1981 movie "Thief." After that, Mann brought him over to his TV show, "Miami Vice," then gave him the lead role in "Crime Story."

From there, Farina built a career out of playing characters on both sides of the law; he was often cast as a cop or mobster in movies like "Midnight Run," "Manhunter," "Get Shorty," "The Mod Squad," "Snatch," and "Out of Sight." He also played an army officer in Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan," a baseball manager in "Little Big League," and Cameron Diaz's boss in "What Happens in Vegas."

Though he was primarily seen as a dramatic actor, Farina was also heralded for his comedic work and won an American Comedy Award for "Get Shorty."

In 2004, Farina joined the cast of "Law & Order" to replace the late Jerry Orbach's Lenny Briscoe. After two years, he left the show to pursue other projects, including hosting "Unsolved Mysteries." His most recent roles were on HBO's short-lived horse-racing drama "Luck" and as Jake Johnson's father on "New Girl."

Farina is survived by his girlfriend, three children from a previous marriage, and six grandchildren.

Watch the episode of "New Girl," where Farina plays Nick's dad: 

Farina is survived by his girlfriend, three children from a previous marriage, and six grandchildren.

Other TV stars we lost this year: