Sneed: Tom Dreesen rips Academy Awards’ ‘In Memoriam’ snub of Dennis Farina

Written By By MICHAEL SNEED Posted: 03/06/2014, 02:20am
Array City Clerk Susana Mendoza speaks about an anti-cruelty ordinance which condemns puppy mills, during the City Council meeting on Monday, March 5, 2014. | Chandler West/For Sun-Times Media

The Farina file . . .

Chicago’s legendary comedian Tom Dreesen is pulling back the curtain on Hollywood’s “elitist group of ignorant lowlifes.”


That would be Dreesen’s definition of the people who snubbed the late Chicago actor Dennis Farina during the “In Memoriam” segment of the Academy Awards on Sunday.

“It was more than the sin of omission,” said Dreesen. “It’s unbelievable and unconscionable!”

Dreesen, a member of an A-list cadre of Chicago actors who sometime anchor in Los Angeles — including Joe “Criminal Minds” Mantegna; Gary “CSI: NY” Sinise; Dennis “NYPD Blue” Franz; and Bill “CSI” Petersen — thinks he knows why Farina was not mentioned in the list of actors who died last year.

“We are Chicago guys . . . neighborhood guys. . . . We just don’t fit in with all the elitists,” he said.

“When we are in town, we go over to Joe’s restaurant run by his wife, called ‘Taste Chicago,’ ” and just hang out.

“The difference between New York, Chicago and L.A. are like night and day,” he said.

“I suppose that’s no one’s fault, but we are different. We’re not rude and inconsiderate or prima donnas or divas or insecure, neurotic, love-starved wrecks!”

“Dennis was in wonderful movies where he gave incredible performances,” Dreesen said. “I know the Academy people are going to say it was an oversight not to mention his name, but I don’t believe it. Not for a minute.”

Dreesen, who lives in L.A. but spends a great deal of time in Chicago, was once the opening act for Frank Sinatra’s concerts.

“I will tell you this,” he said. “Dennis did not want a memorial service when he died [of a blood clot in his lung, on July 22, 2013]. He had a home in Scottsdale [Ariz.] and Michigan and Chicago. He was never a Hollywood type and never wanted to be one.

“But he should have been remembered for his body of wonderful work.”


Obama drama . . .

Tour de Obama?

Sneed hears speculation that President Barack Obama and wife Michelle — who Sneed bets will not move back into their Hyde Park home when he leaves office — will likely let their residence become part of the proposed University of Chicago presidential library system. A probable tour site? Betcha.

The Ness mess . . .

Swimming with da fishes: The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday for a resolution asking Congress not to name the new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives building in Washington, D.C., after Al Capone-era crime fighter Eliot Ness, who they claim doesn’t deserve the honor.

◆ Ego central: Sneed is told Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., are still moving forward with endorsing the Ness plan because the ATF wants a name as big as the one on the FBI building: J. Edgar Hoover.


Bench press . . .

Kudos & brickbats: Former Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Waller, who retired in 2012, will be receiving an award for improving access to justice from the Lake County Bar Association March 12.

“It’s ironic, to say the least, that a man who led an office notorious for injustice would be honored for doing justice,” said Rob Warden, executive director of Northwestern University School of Law’s Center on Wrongful Convictions.

◆ Buckshot: Waller faced criticism for his involvement in a number of cases in which DNA evidence disproved guilty verdicts. Juan Rivera, Jerry Hobbs, James Edwards and Bennie Starks were prosecuted during Waller’s tenure but their cases were overturned after they spent years in prison.

Sneedlings . . .

Kudos to City Clerk Susana Mendoza on her successful efforts to ban puppy mills from doing business in Chicago . . . Thursday’s birthdays: Marion Barry, 78; Alan Greenspan, 88, and Shaquille O’Neal, 42.

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