James Farentino (February 24, 1938 – January 24, 2012) was an American actor. He appeared in nearly 100 television, film, and stage roles, among them The Final Countdown, Jesus of Nazareth, and Dynasty.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Farentino attended local schools followed later by studying drama and acting in Catholic school.
In the 1950s and 1960s, he performed on the stage and a few TV roles. Among his many television appearances, he guest-starred in 1964 with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. in the episode “Super-Star” of the CBS drama series The Reporter. Early in 1967, he appeared in Barry Sullivan’s NBC Western series The Road West in the episode “Reap the Whirlwind”. In 1969, he starred opposite Patty Duke in the film Me, Natalie. Farentino was one of the lawyers in NBC’s TV series The Bold Ones (1969–1972), which also starred Burl Ives and Joseph Campanella. He made two appearances in the 1970s anthology television series Night Gallery, once with then-wife Michele Lee (“Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay”), and next with actress Joanna Pettet (“The Girl with the Hungry Eyes”). Also in 1970, Farentino appeared as Pick Lexington in The Men From Shiloh (the repackaged name of the popular long-running TV Western The Virginian) in the episode titled “The Best Man”. In 1973, he appeared in the episode “The Soft, Kind Brush” of the romantic anthology series Love Story. During the 1970s, he appeared on NBC’s Cool Million.
In 1978, he was nominated for an Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his portrayal of Simon Peter in the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth. In 1980, Farentino starred in The Final Countdown with Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen, and then played Juan Perón opposite Faye Dunaway’s Eva Perón in the 1981 television film Evita Perón. Farentino appeared as Frank Chaney in the short-lived 1984 ABC series Blue Thunder, based on the 1983 film of the same name, starring Roy Scheider. He starred as Dr. Nick Toscanni on the second season of Dynasty from 1981 to 1982. In the late 1990s, he appeared as the estranged father of lead character Doug Ross on ER.
Farentino was married to:
Farentino was charged with stalking his former girlfriend Tina Sinatra (the youngest child of Frank Sinatra) in 1993. A restraining order was issued against him after he entered a plea of nolo contendere.
Farentino was arrested in Vancouver, British Columbia, on July 23, 1991, after Canada Customs intercepted a package containing 3.2 g of cocaine being sent to his hotel room. He was in town filming the television film Miles from Nowhere. He was charged with cocaine possession and released on bail.
In 2010, Farentino was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor battery after police were called following a citizen’s arrest of the actor in his own house. Farentino was taken into custody and booked at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood station before being released the following morning after posting a $20,000 bond. Police said the actor was trying to physically remove a man from his house, and the man then made the citizen’s arrest
On January 24, 2012, Farentino died of complications arising from a right hip fracture, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, following a long illness. He was 73 years old.