James Farentino, the veteran television actor best known for playing George Clooney's estranged on-screen father on ER, has died aged 73. A family spokesman told the Los Angeles that James passed away on Tuesday (24 January 2012) at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a long illness.
Ferentino first gained recognition as a contract actor for Universal Pictures in the 1960s, before scooping the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer for his performance in 'The Pad and How to Use It' in 1967. The gong subsequently landed the actor numerous high profile roles in television shows including The Fugitive, The Bold Ones, The Lawyers, Rod Serling's Night Gallery, and Police Story. His most prominent roles came later in his career - most notably when he starred opposite Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen the 1980's adventure flick 'The Final Countdown'. He will be familiar to younger audiences for his turn in the ABC show 'Dynasty' and more recently, as Doug Ross on NBC's medical drama ER. Farentino's career wasn't without its controversy, and he pleaded no contest in 1994 to stalking his on-off girlfriend Tina - the youngest daughter of Frank Sinatra. The Brooklyn-born star had violated his restraining order barring him from contacting her and was sentenced to three years' probation as well as alcohol counselling.
His last appearance on screen came in the 2006 Tv comedy movie 'Drive/II'.