James Farentino, American actor (Dynasty, ER, Melrose Place), died from a hip fracture he was 73
(February 24, 1938 – January 24, 2012)
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Farentino went to local schools followed
later by studying drama and acting in Catholic based schools. In the
1950s and 60s, he went on to stage and a few TV roles. Among his many
television appearances, Farentino guest-starred in 1964 with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., in the episode “Super-Star” of the CBS drama series, The Reporter, with Harry Guardino in the starring role of journalist Danny Taylor of the fictitious New York Globe newspaper. Early in 1967, he appeared in Barry Sullivan‘s NBC western series The Road West in the episode “Reap the Whirlwind”.
In 1969, he starred opposite Patty Duke in the film Me, Natalie. Farentino was one of the lawyers in NBC TV series The Bold Ones (1969–1972), which also starred Burl Ives and Joseph Campanella. He made two appearances in the 1970s anthology television series Night Gallery, once with then-wife Michele Lee (“Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay”), and secondly with actress Joanna Pettet (“The Girl With The Hungry Eyes”). In the 1970s, he appeared in an NBC Mystery Movie, Cool Million. In 1978, Farentino was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama Special for his portrayal of Saint Peter in the mini-series, Jesus of Nazareth. He also did the TV film When No One Would Listen which teamed him one last time with Michelle Lee.
In 1980, Farentino starred in The Final Countdown with Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen. Farentino appeared as “Frank Chaney” in the short-lived 1984 ABC series Blue Thunder, based on the 1983 film of the same name starring Roy Scheider. (The 11-episode series, which starred a then-unknown Dana Carvey, was released on DVD in August 2006.) In 1991 Farentino starred in A cop killed in the line of duty. In the late 1990s, he appeared as Doug Ross‘ estranged father, “Ray”, on ER.
Farentino also voiced the character Grungy in the 1994 Aaahh!!! Real Monsters episode “Snorched If You Do, Snorched If You Don’t.”
Farentino was married to:
- Michele Lee (February 20, 1966 – 1982; divorced); one child, David
- Debrah Farentino (June 1985 – 1988; divorced)
- Stella Farentino (August 3, 1994 – his death); Stella filed for divorce in 1998 due to “irreconcilable differences,”
but later withdrew her petition. Then, James himself filed for divorce
in January 2001, also due to “irreconcilable differences”; however the
couple remained married until James Farentino’s death.
Farentino was charged with stalking his former girlfriend, Tina Sinatra (youngest child of Frank Sinatra) in 1993. A restraining order was issued against him after he entered a plea of nolo contendere.
Farentino was arrested in Vancouver, British Columbia, on July 23, 1991, after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police intercepted a package containing 3.2 grams of cocaine being sent to his hotel room. Farentino was in town filming the TV movie Miles From Nowhere. He was charged with cocaine possession and released on bail.
In 2010, Farentino was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor battery after a citizen’s arrest was made against the actor.
Police were called to Farentino’s Hollywood home. He was taken into
custody and booked at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood-area
station. Farentino was released two days later after posting $20,000
bond. Police said the actor was trying to physically remove a man from
his house. The man, who police said suffered visible bruising, made a
citizen’s arrest on Farentino for battery.
To see more of who died in 2011 click here