Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thu Jan 14, 2010

Dennis Farina with Robert Conrad this week

Dennis Farina (born February 29, 1944) is an
American film and television actor. He is a character actor, often tarina was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Italian American parents Yolanda, a homemaker, and Joseph Farina, a typecast as a mobster or police officer, the latter due to his earlier career as a police officer. Sicilian doctor. He was raised in a large family and has three brothers and three sisters.  Farina served 18 years as a policeman on the Chicago police force before becoming an actor. Farina himself has stated several times that his handgun skills while on the force were so poor that his fellow officers nick-named him and he began his work in show business working for director Michael Mann as a police consultant on Mann's early works. This led to an interest in acting when Mann cast him in a small role in the 1981 film Thief. Farina proceeded to moonlight as an actor in the Chicago theater scene before Mann chose him for his Crime Story series. Farina played the mobster Albert Lombard in Michael Mann's other television show Miami Vice.  Two of his most well-known movie characters are Jimmy Serrano, the mob boss from Midnight Run, and Ray "Bones" Barboni, a rival criminal of Chili Palmer's in Get Shorty. He also played the FBI agent in the first Hannibal Lecter crime film, Michael Mann's Manhunter.  Other movies in Farina's filmography include Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan (as an Army Lieutenant Colonel), Striking Distance, Another Stakeout, Little Big League, Snatch, The Mod Squad and Out of Sight. He co-starred with Bette Midler in the romantic comedy That Old Feeling.  Farina has demonstrated quite a flair for comedy. He won an American Comedy Award for his performance in Get Shorty and starred in a television sitcom, In-Laws, from 2002-03. He had a comic role opposite Ed Harris and Helen Hunt in the HBO production of Empire Falls in 2005 and opposite Alan Rickman in 2008's Bottle Shock. In early 2005, Farina provided the voice of aging boxer-turned-superhero Wildcat on Justice League Unlimited.  The producers of the long-running television series Law & Order hired Farina as Det. Joe Fontana after the death of Jerry Orbach. 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 pursue other projects, including 2007's You Kill Me opposite Ben Kingsley and 2008's What Happens in Vegas with Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher. His role of Detective Lt. Mike Torello on Crime Story was as a Chicago police officer, who was later seconded to the U.S. Justice Department. Farina's Law & Order character, Joe Fontana, worked for Chicago Homicide before his transfer to the NYPD. As is common on Law & Order, Fontana shares a number of other characteristics with the actor who plays him: they hail from the same Chicago neighborhood, attended the same parochial school, and have the same tastes in both clothes and music.  In October 2008, Farina became the new host of Unsolved Mysteries when it returned to television with a new five-season, 175-episode run on Spike TV. Farina was filling a void that the late Robert Stack left upon his death. (Stack hosted the series for its entire original 15 year run.) The series would include re-edited segments from previous incarnations on NBC, CBS, and Lifetime (all originally hosted by Stack) as well as several new original stories. Farina is the father of three sons, Dennis, Michael, and Joseph. His youngest son, Joseph, is also an actor. He was an officer in the Chicago Police Department from 1967 to 1985. When Farina quit the force, he became a private detective. He has one granddaughter, Brianna, and four grandsons, Michael, Tyler, Matthew and Eric. Dennis is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and played an avid fan alongside Dennis Franz in the play "The Bleacher Bums" for a few years.  

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