James Farentino

Active - 1964 - 2015  |   Born - Feb 24, 1938   |   Died - Jan 24, 2012   |   Genres - Drama, Crime, Mystery

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Biography by Hal Erickson

A product of the Brooklyn parochial school system, James Farentino studied for a theatrical career at AADA. Farentino made his Broadway debut in 1961 as Pedro in Tennessee Williams's Night of the Iguana. Though most of his subsequent professional time would be taken up by film and TV work, he would make frequent return visits to the stage, winning a Theatre World Award for his portrayal of Stanley Kowalski in a mid-1970s revival of another Williams piece, A Streetcar Named Desire. After an inauspicious movie bow in 1963's Psychomania, Farentino was signed by Universal, playing second leads in such films as The War Lord (1965) The Pad: And How to Use It (1966) and Rosie (1968). While still under the Universal banner, he starred in a brace of TV series, playing Neil Darrell in The Lawyers (1969-72) and high-profile private eye Jefferson Keyes in Cool Million (1972). He went on to star as copter jockey Frank Chaney in Blue Thunder (1984), Mary Tyler Moore's boss Frank DeMarco in Mary (1985) and Julie Andrews' veterinarian husband Sam McGuire in Julie (1992); one of his more famous weekly TV assignments was as Dr. Nick Toscannini during the first season of Dynasty (1981). Of his many TV-movie roles, several are standouts, among them the apostle Peter in Jesus of Nazaraeth (1977) and Juan Peron in Evita Peron (1985). James Farentino was formerly married to actress Michele Lee. Farentino died in early 2012 at age 73.

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