SCOTTSDALE, AZ (NBC) -- Actor Dennis Farina, who played Detective Joe Fontana on TV's "Law & Order" and also starred in numerous movies, died Monday at age 69, his publicist tells NBC News. The cause of death was reportedly a blood clot in his lung.
Farina died in Scottsdale, Ariz., and his girlfriend of 35 years, Marianne Cahill, was with him, his publicist says.
Before becoming an actor, Farina worked as a Chicago police officer for nearly 20 years. He was serving as a police consultant to movie director Michael Mann on the 1981 film "Thief" when Mann gave him a small role, which led to a rich acting career in which he mostly played policemen or mobsters.
His movie resume included "Get Shorty," "Snatch" and "Midnight Run." He won an American Comedy Award for his "Get Shorty" role.
In addition to his girlfriend, Farina is survived by three children and six grandchildren.