Like many of you, I deeply mourned the passing of “Law & Order” star DENNIS FARINA – so let me recount a story Dennis shared with a longtime source of mine 10 years ago over a late supper and drinks at an LA bar called Al’s.
“Dennis started telling me and an old theater pal why he’d suddenly turned in his real-life police badge – after more than 18 years as a Chicago cop – to become an actor,” recalled my source.
“He said it was because he could no longer stand to watch how fellow officers squeezed information out of young street punks, kicking and beating them until they confessed to what cops wanted to hear.
"Dennis said he knew lots of cops who got involved in stolen merchandise, or worked with the mob, and it really sickened him.
"These policemen were often friends and Dennis refused to turn them in – he hated ‘rats’ – but he just couldn’t stomach the hypocrisy of it all.”
So when famed director MICHAEL MANN hired Farina as a police consultant for a show he was doing – and offered him a small role in a movie called “Thief” – straight-shooter Dennis was hooked…and the rest is history. (RIP, pal!)