Dennis Farina, the tough guy actor who became one of TV's most well-known detectives on Law & Order after years of working as an actual policeman, has passed away aged 69. A publicist for the actor confirmed the news on Monday (July 22) that he had died, revealing that the actor passed away in Scottsdale, Arizona after developing a fatal blood clot in his lung.

Dennis Farina
Dennis Farina passed away on Monday

After serving in the army, Farina went on to spend 18 years in the Chicago Police Department's burglary division, from 1967 to 1985. Farina first gained work as an actor in Michael Mann's 1981 film Thief and began to moonlight as an actor before handing in his badge in 1985. He worked with Mann on a number of occasions, including his television shows Crime Story and Miami Vice, and the movie Manhunter.

He went on to appear in such notable titles as Saving Private Ryan, Midnight Run, Get Shorty, Striking Distance, Another Stakeout, Little Big League, Snatch, The Mod Squad, Big Trouble and Out of Sight, although it was his return to television that turned him into a memorable actor. He starred as Detective Joe Fontana on Law & Order from 2004 to 2006, going on to featuring in a number of other released following the reinvigoration his career gained from the casting. His last major role was in the Dustin Hoffman-starring HBO drama Luck. He was a mainstay on the Chicago theatre scene for most of his career.

He leaves behind his partner, 3 sons and 6 granchildren

Read our interview with Farina

He is survived by his partner of 35 years, Marianne Cahill, and his three sons, all from his previous marriage to Patricia Farina, and six grandchildren.

Dennis Farina  Madeo
Our thoughts are with his family