The actor, perhaps best known in recent years for his stint on the TV crime drama "Law & Order," died at a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital after suffering a blood clot in his lung, said his publicist, Lori De Waal.
Farina's ability to straddle both sides of the law on screen came with a certain ease. He had worked for the
The two shared a mutual friend, a retired cop, and while Farina was still on the force, Mann cast him in his 1981 neo-noir film
The transformation into a character actor surprised Farina.
"As a kid, we would go to the neighborhood theater and watch Bogart movies and Cagney movies and stuff like that," he said in a 2001 Times interview. "I never thought I would be doing what I am doing."
Farina would go on to notch more than 70 film and television credits. A standout performance in Barry Sonnenfeld's 1995 comedy crime thriller "Get Shorty" playing Miami gangster Ray
Though he often took on tough-guy roles, Farina found ways to stretch. He starred as Bette Midler's ex-husband in the 1997 comedy "That Old Feeling," as a Chicago mob boss swindled by accountant Charles Grodin in Martin Brest's "Midnight Run" (1998), as an Army colonel in
His two seasons on
Farina, born Feb. 29, 1944, in Chicago, was the youngest of seven children of Italian immigrants. He often accompanied his father, a neighborhood doctor, on his rounds.
"He'd give them a shot or stitch them up for $2 or $3," Farina said in a 2007 Times interview. "A lot of times these people didn't have money; they'd pay him in kind, groceries. Through it all, we had a lot of laughs. Tried to find the humor in things."
After high school, Farina served three years in the Army before pursuing a career in law enforcement. His time on the Chicago police force found him front-and-center during the 1968 riots sparked by the assassination of the Rev.
Upon being discovered by Mann, the actor took a year's break from the field and headed west to Los Angeles. He found steady work in television, with roles in 1984's "The Killing Floor" and the 1986 TV movie "Triplecross." He would also extend his newfound passion to theater in Chicago, starring in such plays as Joseph Mantegna's "Bleacher Bums," the
Most recently, Farina had a guest-starring role on Fox's sitcom "New Girl." He was set to appear in two upcoming films — "Authors Anonymous" and "Lucky Stiff."
During a 2007 interview for a Times story, the then-63-year-old actor said he enjoyed the unpredictability his acting career had afforded him.
"Maybe at 73 I do want a steady job someplace," he said. "But I think for me the next 10 years will be important because you're getting into the twilight of your life."
Farina, who split his time between Chicago and Scottsdale, is survived by three sons, six grandchildren and his companion, Marianne Cahill.