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'ER' Actor James Farentino Dies of Heart Failure

January 25, 2012, 9:25 am GMT

The actor who played George Clooney's estranged father on the NBC medical drama series passed away at Cedars-Sinai Hospital Tuesday, January 24, says a family spokesman.



Sad news came from the acting world. James Farentino, who portrayed George Clooney's estranged father on "ER", has passed away at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 24. Family spokesman Bob Palmer says the actor, who has suffered from a lengthy illness, died of heart failure at the age of 73.

Born on February 24, 1938, in Brooklyn, New York, Farentino launched his career with a 1961 Broadway appearance in "Night of the Iguana". He went on to earn a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer in 1967 for "The Pad and How to Use It". In 1978, he collected an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Saint Peter in the NBC miniseries "Jesus of Nazareth".

Farentino, who was survived by two sons, David and Saverio, was also famous for his tumultuous personal life. In March 1994, he pleaded no contest to stalking ex-girlfriend Tina Sinatra, who is the youngest daughter of Frank Sinatra, after being charged with 24 misdemeanor counts of stalking, making harassing phone calls and violating a restraining order.

The actor, who starred opposite Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen in "The Final Countdown", was married and divorced from Elizabeth Ashley of "Treme", Michele Lee of "Knots Landing" and Debrah Farentino of "Eureka". Though filing for divorce from fourth wife Stella Farentino in 2001, he remained married to her until his death.

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