James Farentino, the American actor who graced TV, film and stage in almost 100 different roles, has passed away aged 73. Farentino had been ill for a long period before passing away yesterday, January 25th 2011, of heart failure. A versatile actor accustomed to any medium thrown at him, Farentino was perhaps one of the more underrated talents of the past century, respected by critics but never quite managing to break through on a truly global scale. Latterly younger fans of him might've picked him up from appearances as George Clooney's character's estranged father in episodes of hospital drama 'ER.'
Farentino started coming to prominence in the 1960s, with roles in the CBS drama series 'The Reporter,' alongside Harry Gaudino, and on NBC Western series 'The Road West.' It was in the 60s too that he won a Golden Globe, voted as most promising newcomer for the 1966 movie 'The Pad (And How To Use It.)' Elsewhere he made a convincing Broadway appearance in 'Night Of The Iguana' opposite Bette Davis, pushing the Los Angeles Times years later to comment that it was that platform which had seen him "cut a handsome swath through movies and television."
Maybe his most high profile role, both due to his own ability and those who he shared with the camera with, came in 1981 as he starred alongside acting great Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen in the science fiction film 'The Final Countdown.'