Robert Loggia, movie and TV tough guy, dies at 85
The Oscar-nominated actor Robert Loggia, 85, who was known for gravelly voiced gangsters from Scarface to The Sopranos but who was most endearing as Tom Hanks' kid-at-heart toy-company boss in Big, died Friday at his home in Los Angeles after a five-year battle with Alzheimer's disease.
The Oscar-nominated actor Robert Loggia, 85, who was known for gravelly voiced gangsters from
but who was most endearing as Tom Hanks' kid-at-heart toy-company boss in
died Friday at his home in Los Angeles after a five-year battle with Alzheimer's disease.
"His poor body gave up," his wife, Aubrey, said. "He loved being an actor and he loved his life."
A solidly built man with a rugged face, Mr. Loggia fit neatly into gangster movies, playing a Miami drug lord in Scarface and a Sicilian mobster in Prizzi's Honor. In HBO's The Sopranos, he played veteran mobster "Feech" La Manna.
It was not as a gangster but as a seedy detective that Mr. Loggia received an Oscar nomination, as a supporting actor in 1985's Jagged Edge. He played a gumshoe investigating a murder involving Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges.
Mr. Loggia gave an endearing comic performance in Penny Marshall's 1988 Big, when he danced with Hanks on a giant piano keyboard.
"A great actor in heart and soul," Hanks wrote on Twitter on Friday. "A sad day."
Mr. Loggia appeared in five films for Blake Edwards, including three Pink Panther movies. He also portrayed Joseph in George Stevens' biblical epic, The Greatest Story Ever Told.
Asked in 1990 how he maintained such a varied career, he responded: "I'm a character actor in that I play many different roles, and I'm virtually unrecognizable from one role to another. So I never wear out my welcome."
After a failed TV series and a failed marriage in the mid-1960s, he reemerged in two plays for Joseph Papp, Wedding Band with Ruby Dee and In the Boom-Boom Room with Madeleine Kahn.
He returned to TV in a two-part episode of Mannix and was soon working regularly again.
First inclined toward newspaper work, the Staten Island-born Mr. Loggia studied journalism at the University of Missouri, but was drawn to acting and returned to New York to study at the Actors Studio.
He appeared on Studio One, Playhouse 90, and other live dramatic series during TV's Golden Age. He made his stage debut Off-Broadway in 1956 in The Man With the Golden Arm, appearing in the title role of a drug addict, played in the movie by Frank Sinatra.
In 1956, he made his film debut in Somebody Up There Likes Me, playing a mobster who tries to persuade boxer Rocky Graziano (Paul Newman) to throw a fight.