Dennis Farina, who starred as Det. Joe Fontana on "Law & Order," died in Scottsdale, Ariz., after suffering a blood clot in his lung. He was 69. Reuters

Dennis Farina, a well-known screen actor who starred as Detective Joe Fontana on "Law & Order," died today in Scottsdale, Ariz., after suffering a blood clot in his lung. He was 69.

Farina, whose acting credits include roles in classic films such as "Get Shorty," "Snatch" and "Midnight Run," was born in Chicago in 1944 and was a city police officer before turning to acting in his 30s when he worked for director Michael Mann as a police consultant. The job subsequently led to an interest in acting when Mann cast him in a small role for the 1981 film “Thief.”

The role acted as a segue for Farina, who would become a character actor, often typecast as a mobster or police officer.

Most recently, Farina co-starred in the 2012 HBO horse-race gambling series “Luck,” with Dustin Hoffman, directed by Michael Mann. He also had a recurring guest role in 2013 in the television comedy series “New Girl.”

According to Farina’s IMDb page, the actor had roles in two projects that are currently in the works, one of which is in the filming stage and the other in post-production.

Farina is survived by his three adult children from his marriage to Patricia Farina. They divorced in 1980. He also has two granddaughters and four grandsons.

Farina's rep said the actor is also survived by "the love of his life of 35 years, Marianne Cahill." It’s unclear if the two were ever married.

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