The part he played in the movie “Midnight Run” made American actor Dennis Farina famous in both film and television. He spent three years in the American Army and 18 years in the Chicago Police Department before entering show business. Farina, who is regarded as one of history’s best character actors, was raised in a working-class, multicultural neighborhood. He enlisted in the US Army after finishing high school, serving three years as a combatant in the Vietnam War. He then joined the local police department after growing up and being born there. When he met director Michael Mann, who recruited him as a guide to understand the Chicago underworld, he was working in the burglary division. Later, Mann hired him as an actor in his 1981 movie “Thief.” Two years later, Farina made his small-screen début in the television movie “Through Naked Eyes.” Over the years, he developed a reputation for easily capturing in his characters the gritty reality of a life outside of the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry. He frequently portrayed strong, confident figures who were influential members of society. Ray “Bones” Barboni in “Get Shorty,” Jack Crawford in “Manhunter,” Lt. Mike Torello in “Crime Story,” Jimmy Serrano in “Midnight Run,” and Cousin Avi in “Snatch” are a few of his well-known performances. At the 2011 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, Farina was given the Commitment to Chicago Award. At the age of 69, he died in 2013.
Early Childhood & Life
Dennis Farina was the youngest of Joseph and Yolanda’s seven children and was born on a leap year on February 29, 1944, in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Joseph was a doctor who was initially from Villalba, Sicily. In Old Town, the family resided in a house on North Avenue. Working-class families from various ethnicities lived next door to them. The most notable among them were the Germans and the Italians.
Farina graduated in 1962 from St. Michael Central High School. He then enlisted in the US Army at the start of the Vietnam War and fought there for the following three years. He entered the Chicago Police Department after arriving home on the advice of one of his lawyer brothers. For the following 18 years, he was a member of the police, and at the time of his retirement, he was a detective.
Movie Career of Dennis Farina
From 1967 to 1985, Dennis Farina worked primarily in the theft division of the police. He was employed by director Michael Mann in 1978 to assist with site scouting for a crime movie. Chicago is the setting for Mann’s first feature picture because he is a native of the area.
Soon, the two developed a professional connection that would last for the following three decades. Farina was even a part of Mann’s first movie, Thief. (1981). He collaborated with Tuesday Weld, James Caan, and James Belushi while portraying the role of Carl. ‘Code of Silence,’ Farina’s second movie, starred Chuck Norris. (1985). He was chosen to play Jack Crawford in “Manhunter,” the first motion picture version of Thomas Harris’ book “Red Dragon,” which was released in 1986. His second movie with Mann was this one.
He appeared in the 1983 telefilm “Through Naked Eyes” for the first time on a tiny screen. He then made an appearance in the telefilm “Hard Knox” as a follow-up. (1984). He collaborated with Mann on the latter’s television series “Miami Vice,” which was also his debut program.
In the 1988 action comedy “Midnight Run,” Robert De Niro (playing the character Jack Walsh) has Jimmy Serrano as his archenemy. Farina’s portrayal of Jimmy Serrano won him acclaim from critics.
He received a part in “Men of Respect,” a contemporary interpretation of “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare, in 1990. Banquo from the original play served as the inspiration for Bankie Como, which Farina played. He portrayed Mr. Stunder in John Turturro’s Caméra d’Or-winning drama “Mac” as well as an uncredited part in Sydney Pollack’s drama “Havana.” (1992).
In the 1991 action comedy “We’re Talkin’ Serious Money,” Farina received his first leading part. He portrayed Sal, one of a pair of oddballs. Leo Rossi portrayed Charlie, the other character. After Sal and Charlie borrow $10,000 from the mob, they end up in difficulty. They try to flee to Los Angeles for a new start but only get into more trouble.
Farina made several telefilm appearances in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. They were “Open Admissions” (1988), “The Case of the Hillside Stranglers” (1989), “Six Against the Rock” (1987), “Blind Faith” (1990), “People Like Us” (1990), “Perfect Crimes” (1991), and “Drug Wars: The Cocaine Cartel” (1991). (1992). Farina also made an appearance in the 1992 miniseries Cruel Doubt, which was based on Joe McGinniss’s novel of the same name.
In the romantic farce “That Old Feeling” from 1997, Farina co-starred with Bette Middler. Farina continued to behave in the same manner as always, even in this movie about an estranged couple finding love again while attending their daughter’s wedding. He never overthought his art and always made his characters likable.
Farina played New York-based jeweler Cousin Avi Denovitz in Guy Ritchie’s masterful crime comedy “Snatch” (2000), directed by the British filmmaker. He portrayed Bag Boy in the adolescent comedy “National Lampoon’s Bag Boy” in 2007. In the 2011 thriller movie “The Last Rites of Joe May,” Farina portrayed Joe May. His last movie was the musical farce “Lucky Stiff.” In 2014, it was published postmortem.
He portrayed the title role in the brief-lived crime thriller series “Buddy Faro” on CBS in 1998. He played Victor Pellet in the NBC comedy “In Laws” from 2002 to 2003. As Det. Joe Fontana, Farina joined the cast of NBC’s venerable police drama “Law & Order” in 2004 and went on to star in 46 episodes.
He provided the voice of Wildcat, the former fighter who became a superhero, in “Justice League Unlimited” at the start of 2005. He also made an appearance in the drama “Empire Falls” that year.
In 2008, Farina took over from Robert Stack as presenter and narrator of Spike TV’s “Unsolved Mysteries.” He co-starred with Dustin Hoffman in the HBO thriller series “Luck” from 2011 to 2012. His most recent television endeavor was a Family Guy episode from Fox.
Bigger Works of Dennis Farina
The role of Lt. Mike Torello in the television series “Crime Story” (1986–88) is widely regarded as Dennis Farina’s best performance. It was an NBC police thriller whose narrative structure was groundbreaking. Instead of being episodic, which was the standard in the 1980s, it presented a continuous storyline throughout one season.
Unquestionably one of his most significant parts came when he was chosen to play Ray “Bones” Barboni in the 1995 crime comedy “Get Shorty.” He portrayed a Miami-based gangster who gets into a fight with Chili Palmer, a loan shark, (John Travolta), over a coat that was taken. The film “Get Shorty,” which was well-received both critically and commercially, was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. For his work, Farina received the 1996 American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in Motion Picture.
Individual Life of Dennis Farina
Dennis Farina wed Patricia in 1970, and the two of them had three kids: Dennis Jr., Michael, and Joseph. In addition, he had two granddaughters, Brianna, and Olivia, as well as four grandsons, Michael, Tyler, Matthew, and Eric. As an actor and producer, Joseph has continued his father’s career in the entertainment business. 1980 saw the end of Farina and Patricia’s ten-year union. He lived the majority of his later years in Chicago and Scottsdale, Arizona, with his longtime girlfriend Marianne Cahill.
Farina was detained on May 11, 2008, after it was found that he had passed through security at the Los Angeles International Airport with a loaded.22-caliber pistol. He was accused of carrying a concealed firearm after being moved to the Pacific Division of the Los Angeles Police Department. Initially fixed at $25,000, the bail was increased to $35,000 when the police discovered the firearm was not registered.
He continued claiming that he had simply forgotten that the gun was in his briefcase and that he had no intention of bringing it on a flight. He ultimately consented to a plea agreement with the prosecution. Farina was sentenced to two years of probation on July 17, 2008, after entering a no-contest plea.
Farina passed away from a pulmonary embolism on July 22, 2013, in a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was interred in the Mount Carmel Cemetery of his birthplace.
Dennis Farina’s Net Worth
An American actor for both cinema and television, Dennis Farina had a $4 million fortune at the time of his passing. Dennis Farina, 69, sadly passed away on July 22, 2013. In both movies and television, Dennis Farina is best known for his roles as mobsters and police agents. His appearances as Mike Torello on “Crime Story” and Joe Fontana on “Law & Order” are among his most well-known television performances. Farina starred in movies like “Manhunter,” “Midnight Run,” “Get Shorty,” “Snatch,” and “Big Trouble” on the big screen.
Farina has always been a Chicago Cubs supporter.