Sneed: Farina missed on Hollywood, Chicago beat
By Michael Sneed July 29, 2013 12:04PM
FILE - This 2004 file image released by NBC shows actor Dennis Farina in character as Police Detective Joe Fontana on NBC's "Law & Order." Farina died suddenly on Monday, July 22, 2013, in Scottsdale, AZriz., after suffering a blood clot in his lung. He was 69. (AP Photo/NBC, Paul Drinkwater, File)
Updated: August 30, 2013 6:21AM
The Farina file. . .
A few final notes on Chicago cop cum actor Dennis Farina, whose decades-long patrol of Chicago and Hollywood ended suddenly at his home in Arizona last week.
The death of Farina, who died of complications from cancer, stunned his closest Chicago thespian buddies — guys like comedian Tom Dreesen and actors Dennis Franz, William Petersen and Joe Mantegna, as well as legendary filmmaker Michael Mann, who gave Farina a major boost onto the stage.
“He was like a brother to me,” said Dreesen. “And I didn’t even know he had cancer.”
Neither did Nick Nickeas, his best friend and former Chicago cop partner for 11 years. “He was a really private guy,” said Nickeas.
“We were close, but he didn’t even tell me he had cancer. I think one of the reasons he loved [singer and actor] Dean Martin was because he was also a really private guy.
“Years ago, when he was filming “Crime Story,” he’d go to Las Vegas every night to catch Dean Martin’s act. And he loved working with actress Bette Midler. He always said she was the best.”
Dreeasen said: “I’ve talked to a lot of the Chicago guys and many of them called to express shock and fear they might not be able to attend the funeral next Tuesday due to major schedule conflicts.”
“Dennis was a good man, a neighborhood guy, with the soul of a cop who became a respected actor,” said Fr. Tom Nangle, the Chicago Police Department’s former chaplain.
Although Farina was an actor almost twice as long as he was a cop, “He may have tried to get away from his police side and people asking him if he shot anybody, but he didn’t distance himself from us. . . cops,” Nickeas said.
“He was never far away from us and once a month we’d all have dinner at Tufano’s. He was always doing things for the police memorial, the 100 Club, for families of policemen who had been killed.”
“He was a class act,” said former Chicago Police Superintendent Phil Cline. “When he wasn’t being a police officer, he was honing his craft as an actor and helping us any way he could.” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy described him as “a true blue Chicago character.”
Farina’s last film, “The Last Rites of Joe May,” was close to his heart... almost an epitaph.
It was shot in Chicago near a former Farina police haunt. “It’s where we covered high line burglars at Grand and May near D’Amato’s Bakery and an old mob hangout,” Nickeas said. “His character dies in the end. It was a great film and it gave you a look into his heart.”
Sneed is told Farina, who had three sons, wanted his six grandchildren to be his pallbearers and Nangle to officiate at his funeral. He wanted no flowers — instead, he wanted donations to go to the CPD’s 100 Club.
Condolences to all who loved him and to his longtime companion Marianne Cahill, who was described as the love of his life — and was at his side at the end of it. Blessings. He did both his crafts proud.
Hear ye, blimey!
Here’s one for the royal books: Anglophobe law professor Francis Boyle, who hails from the University of Illinois, had this to say about the birth of the royal baby, Prince George of Cambridge:
“Concerning Prince someday King George,
and his father Prince someday King William,
let us recall the stirring words
of one of our greatest Founding Fathers, Tom Paine,
written in his pamphlet “Common Sense,”
after what he called the “massacres” at Lexington and Concord
of American citizen soldiers by professional British mercenaries:
Who founded the British Monarchy?
It was that Norman Bastard and his Gang of Ruffians,
William dubbed the Conqueror. History repeats itself.”
Sneedlings. . .
Saturday’s birthdays: Maya Rudolph, 41; Jonathan Rhys Meyers, 36, and Maureen McGovern, 64. . . Sunday’s birthdays: Former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, 70; Walter Jacobson, 76, and Dia Weil, ageless.