- In 1985, retired after 18 years with the Chicago Police Department to concentrate on acting, which he had been moonlighting in since taking a part in director Michael Mann's first movie, Thief (1981). A year later, had the lead in Mann's underrated TV series Crime Story.
- Known as "The Great Wounder" during his time on the police force, due to his poor marksmanship skills.
- Stage career is highlighted by leading roles in Steppenwolf Theatre productions, including A Prayer for My Daughter, Tracers and Streamers.
- Won an American Comedy Award as the Funniest Supporting Male of 1996 for playing gangster Ray "Bones" Barboni in Get Shorty.
- At the start of its 15th season, joined the cast of Law & Order as Det. Joe Fontana, replacing Jerry Orbach's Det. Lennie Briscoe.
- 1995, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- Michael Farina — Son
- Joseph Farina — Father
- Patricia Farina — Ex-wife
- Joseph Farina — Son
- Dennis Farina Jr. — Son
- Yolanda Farina — Mother
- Attended Truman Junior College, Chicago, Illinois, United States
- Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, United States
- Died: July 22, 2013
- Profession: Actor
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