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James Farentino

Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage

James Farentino, the veteran tube star perhaps best known for a recurring role on TV's Dynasty and playing George Clooney's estranged dad on ER, has died.

He was 73.

A family spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that Farentino passed away Tuesday at L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a long illness.

Farentino shot to fame at the tail end of the studio system in the 1960s as a contract player for Universal Pictures.

After winning a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer for his performance in the 1967 comedy The Pad and How to Use It , the thesp earned a number of parts in such TV series as The Fugitive, The Bold Ones: The Lawyers, Rod Serling's Night Gallery, and Police Story. He also played Simon Peter in the 1977 miniseries Jesus of Nazareth.

His most prominent big-screen appearance came shortly thereafter opposite Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen in 1980's sci-fi adventure The Final Countdown.

Farentino made his most memorable mark with younger audiences in a recurring role on ABC's Dynasty as well as briefly starring in the 1984 tube series Blue Thunder, playing the character Roy Scheider made famous in the movie.

The next decade however saw Farentino's career hit the skids after he pleaded no contest in 1994 to stalking on-and-off girlfriend Tina Sinatra, the youngest daughter of Frank Sinatra. Aside from harassing her with a slew of phone calls, the Brooklyn-born actor violated a restraining order barring him from contacting her. He was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to undergo psychiatric and alcohol counseling.

Despite the bad press, Farentino still managed to get jobs, most notably playing Doug Ross' father on NBC's megahit ER. In 1998, he also appeared on Melrose Place.

No word yet on funeral plans.

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