This hasn't been a good couple of weeks for character actors. They are just as much celebrities as the heavy hitters so it's just as bad when one of them leaves us. Now we have lost another one. And again, not all that old either.
Actor Dennis Farina passed away July 22nd in Scottsdale, AZ after suffering a blood clot in his lung. He was 69-years-old.
Most recently, Farina had been known for his role as Detective Joe Fontana on television's "Law and Order". I can count on one hand how many full episodes of that show I've seen. I just could never get into it for some reason. So little so that I didn't even know he was on the show. I had to google his inclusion to even give you the name of his character. That isn't what I remember him for at all.
My fondest recollection of Farina is him playing mobster tough guy Ray Bones Barboni in "Get Shorty". There are some folks that just have that genuine mobster look which can complement their acting skills tremendously when the right role calls for it. Farina was one of those cats. I automatically think of classic mobster whenever I see him no matter what role he's playing.
The one scene in "Get Shorty" that sticks out more than any other is when he had his shoe on Gene Hackman's face as he tried to prove a point. The only reason that scene is so vivid is because of the sheer nylon socks he was wearing that were so prominently featured. I had wanted to find socks like that material ever since then and never could. Not at a reasonable price anyway.
He would go on to have other roles that always stuck with me as well. Even if the movies weren't the greatest. Like playing an NBA coach in "Eddie" or a federal marshall in "Out of Sight". It didn't matter what his part was though because he always seemed like the same guy in every role. Nothing wrong with that at all though. You always knew what you got with Farina and it was always great.
Rest in peace, Dennis.