Dennis Farina funeral in Chicago

July 30, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Farina gained fame as a television and movie actor, but he started his career as an officer with the Chicago Police Department. Those who knew him said he never forgot his roots.

Most of the people attending his funeral Mass at Assumption Catholic Church in Chicago's River North area appeared to be close loved ones. There was also a large Chicago police presence.

Farina's casket was draped in an American flag and was carried in by young pallbearers. Some portion of the street in front of the church was blocked off during the Mass.

Mourners said Farina remained a humble man despite his Hollywood acting career. He was well known and played notable roles in productions like Law & Order and Saving Private Ryan. He often played a cop, a role he knew well.

But Farina was a Chicago guy who grew up in the Old Town neighborhood.

One of his high school classmates, now owner of Gene and Georgetti's Restaurant, shared his memories of Farina.

"We went to St. Michael's Central High School together in Old Town. We hung around together constantly. He was a great guy. If you met him today, he was the same guy he was way back when. Nothing ever affected him. He was always at my mother's house every Sunday for raviolis -- my mother's homemade raviolis. He was just a pleasure to be around," said Tony Durpetti.

At a wake Monday night on Chicago's Northwest Side, his colleagues and loved ones echoed similar sentiments.

"He was just a really good friend, somebody you always wanted in your corner, and once you made friends with him, he was always in your corner. He was a wonderful guy," actor John Mahoney said.

His friends said he was a great story teller.

"For as much as my father-in-law was a wonderful actor and policeman, he was just a wonderful dad and father-in-law," said Joy Farina, daughter-in-law.

Some Chicago police officers who never met Farina went to pay their respects because they considered him one of their own. Dennis Farina spent 18 years with the Chicago Police Department. He was on duty during the Chicago Riots in 1968.

He started his acting career in his 40s but maintained close ties with many of his former police department colleagues.

Dennis Farina was diagnosed with lung cancer 13 years ago. He died in Arizona last week from a blood clot in his lung. He was 69 years old.

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