Dennis Farina, one of Hollywood's most successful character actors, died Monday in Scottsdale, Arizona, of a pulmonary embolism, his publicist said. He was 69.

The actor, well-known for the thick mustache he almost always wore for his roles, was part of films such as "Snatch" (2000), "Saving Private Ryan" (1999), "Get Shorty" (1995), "Out of Sight" (1998) and "Midnight Run" (1988).

He also starred on television series such as "Law & Order," where he played Detective Joe Fontana, "Crime Story" and the recent "Luck," where he shared the billing with Dustin Hoffman.

Farina was a policeman for 18 years in his native Chicago before devoting himself fulltime to movies, where he often played law enforcement officers, although he also played characters involved in criminal activities.

He made his big-screen debut in the film "Thief" (1981), the first feature film by Michael Mann, with whom he worked again in "Manhunter" (1986) and the series "Crime Story," "Miami Vice" and "Luck."

"Crime Story" was created by a friend of Farina's on the Chicago police force, Chuck Adamson, who also worked as a scriptwriter on "Miami Vice."

The actor leaves three children and six grandchildren. EFE