UPDATE 1-Actor Dennis Farina arrested at L.A. airport

Sun May 11, 2008 6:15pm EDT

(Adds upgrade to felony charge in paragraph 5)

LOS ANGELES May 11 (Reuters) - Dennis Farina, a former policeman who built a Hollywood career playing detectives, was arrested on Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport for carrying a loaded gun on his way to board a plane, police said.

Farina, 64, told police he brought the .22 caliber, semi-automatic pistol with him on a drive from Arizona to Los Angeles and forgot it was in his briefcase when he tried to pass through airport security, police said in a statement.

He was scheduled to take a United Airlines flight to his home in Chicago.

"Farina was very apologetic and cooperative with officers," police said. "However, he had no apparent authority to carry a concealed weapon at the time of his arrest."

The actor was initially booked on one misdemeanor count of carrying a loaded firearm and bail was set at $25,000. The charge was upgraded later to a felony after police confirmed the gun was not registered, and bail was raised to $35,000.

Farina was a Chicago police officer for nearly 20 years before taking up acting in the 1980s. He has starred in movies such as "Get Shorty" and "Sidewalks of New York" and is perhaps best known in the role of New York Detective Joe Fontana on the popular television crime series, "Law & Order." (Editing by Mohammad Zargham)