All appreciators of the great and usually unsung character actors who make so many good movies great and so many lousy movies watchable took a hit last week when news came out of Dennis Farina’s passing.
My piece on Chicago’s own Farina (Get Shorty, Crime Story, Saving Private Ryan, and others) ran today at Short Ends & Leader:
Farina, who died on July 22 at the age of 69, was a detective in a Chicago Police Department burglary unit when he was introduced to Chicagoan Michael Mann, who was making his first feature, 1981’s Thief. Farina was hired as an advisor for the film and even got himself on screen for a few seconds; he gets shot rather unceremoniously at the film’s end along with some other anonymous henchmen. He worked some small roles for the next few years, mostly TV, but also polishing his craft on the Chicago stage with the likes of Steppenwolf vets like Terry Kinney. Supposedly, he even left the CPD a couple years before making his pension in order to pursue acting. It was a gutsy move, but one that paid off long before he ended up donning a trenchcoat and storming the streets of Manhattan on Law and Order…
And now, Crime Story: