Dennis Farina: 1944-2013

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He broke big with TV’s “Crime Story,” and made his mark in movies playing a variety of tough cops, tough mobsters and wiseguys out to “Get Shorty.”

Dennis Farina, a great character actor and a genuine character — he started his working life as a Chicago cop –has died, suddenly, at age 69. A blood clot, his publicist says.

I talked with him a couple of times over the years. He had great presence, which played to his advantage even when he was cast against type — in “Saving Private Ryan”, “Bottle Shock” and as J. Lo’s dad in “Out of Sight.” He was, as his onetime co-star Cheryl Hines described him, “a real pussycat” in person. But with that voice and that face, the man knew how to come off like anything but that.
“Get Shorty” might have been his best role, but I loved the expression on his face in “Big Trouble,” playing a hitman sent to Florida to knock off a local, his face the very picture of stupefied annoyance as he was forced to listen to local sports talk radio and its inane “Gators vs. Hurricanes vs. Seminoles” blather. Hilarious.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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