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James Farentino dead at 73; Tina Sinatra woes hurt long TV career

January 25, 2012 | 12:17 pm

James Farentino

James Farentino, a veteran TV actor whose career was undone a bit at the end by his personal life, is dead at age 73.

Farentino, who was one of Universal Studios' last contract players in the 1960s and notched nearly 100 TV roles, including recurring appearances in series such as "Police Story," "Dynasty" and the original "Melrose Place," was married four times. He played George Clooney's character's estranged father on "ER," and was also known for the fallout from a turbulent relationship with Frank Sinatra's youngest daughter, Tina.

After a five-year, on-and-off relationship with Tina Sinatra, Farentino in 1994 pleaded no contest to stalking her after being charged with 24 misdemeanor counts of stalking, making harassing phone calls and violating a restraining order.

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"My behavior was appalling — feeling so hurt and rejected that I was the victim when I really wasn't," he told The Times in a 2003 interview. "So you inflict your pain on someone else to make them identify with you."

Sentenced to 36 months' probation plus psychological and alcohol counseling, Farentino said some in the industry treated him differently after the incident.

Farentino died Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a long illness, his family's spokesman told The Times. He is survived by his fourth wife, Stella, whom he married in 1994, and sons David and Saverio. Actress Michelle Lee is David's mother.


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Photo: James Farentino at home in 2003, when he was starring in "Boy Gets Girl" at the Geffen Playhouse. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times.