Actor James Farentino dies

Was mainstay of television for decades

Actor James Farentino, a mainstay of television for decades who also appeared in films and onstage, died Tuesday of heart failure in Los Angeles. He was 73.

Farentino guested on dozens of shows, ranging from “Route 66,” “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” and “Ironside” in the 1960s to a role as Simon Peter in 1977’s “Jesus of Nazareth,” a recurring stint in the 1980s on “Dynasty” as Dr. Nick Toscanni and a story arc as the father of George Clooney’s character on “ER” in 1996.

Farentino also appeared in 17 films, including “Ensign Pulver”; sci-fi war film “The Final Countdown,” in which he starred with Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen; and Bruce Beresford’s “Her Alibi.”

The actor made his smallscreen debut in a 1962 episode of “Naked City.” He had a recurring role as Neil Darrell on “The Bold Ones: The Lawyers” from 1969-72; starred as a private eye in the brief NBC series “Cool Million”; appeared in a number of episodes of “Police Story” and “Insight”; and starred as Gen. Juan Peron opposite Faye Dunaway in the 1981 NBC telepic “Evita Peron.”

Farentino starred opposite Mary Tyler Moore in the brief 1985 Moore vehicle “Mary” and opposite Julie Andrews in the similarly brief 1992 Andrews series “Julie.” In 1998 Farentino had a recurring role on “Melrose Place.”

The actor also appeared in numerous telepics, starring as the slain, abusive father in 1998’s “Honor Thy Father and Mother: The True Story of the Menendez Murders” and as a detective in 2000’s “Murder in the Mirror.”

James Ferrantino was born in Brooklyn and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He made his Broadway debut in Tennessee Williams’ “The Night of the Iguana” in 1961, won a 1973 Theatre World Award for his portrayal of Stanley Kowalski in a revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire” opposite Rosemary Harris and appeared as Biff in a 1975 Broadway production of “Death of a Salesman” that starred George C. Scott.

The actor had a few brushes with the law, including being charged with stalking former girlfriend Tina Sinatra in 1993.Farentino was married to four actresses: Elizabeth Ashley, Michele Lee, Debrah Farentino and Stella Farentino. He is survived by Stella and a son by Lee, occasional actor David Farentino.

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