Robert Loggia, star of ‘Scarface,’ ‘Big,’ dies at 85

5 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Robert Loggia, movie and TV tough guy, dies at 85.

Oscar-nominated actor Robert Loggia, 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,” has died. Loggia’s wife Aubrey Loggia said he died Friday at his home in Los Angeles after a five year battle with Alzheimer’s. “His poor body gave up,” she said. “He loved being an actor and he loved his life.” A solidly built man with a rugged face and rough voice, Loggia fit neatly into gangster movies, playing a Miami drug lord in “Scarface,” which starred Al Pacino; and a Sicilian mobster in “Prizzi’s Honor,” with Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner.

He played wise guys in David Lynch’s “Lost Highway,” the spoofs “Innocent Blood” and “Armed and Dangerous,” and again on David Chase’s “The Sopranos,” as the previously jailed veteran mobster Michele “Feech” La Manna. It was not as a gangster but as a seedy detective that Loggia received his only Academy Award nomination, as supporting actor in 1985’s “Jagged Edge.” He played gumshoe Sam Ransom, who investigated a murder involving Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges. Hanks played an adolescent granted a wish to be big, overnight becoming a 30-something man who __ still mentally a boy __ eventually finds work at a toy company run by Loggia’s character. A chance meeting in a toy store leads to the pair tapping out joyful duets of “Chopsticks” and “Heart and Soul” on the piano keys built into the floor.

Loggia also appeared in five films for comedy director Blake Edwards, including three “Pink Panther” films and the dark comedy “S.O.B.” He also portrayed Joseph, husband of Mary, 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. When the series was canceled after one season, however, the distraught Loggia largely dropped out of the business for a time. “It was a Dante’s ‘Inferno’ period for me that most men and women go through if they’ve taken paths they wished they hadn’t,” he recalled in a 1986 interview. “I didn’t want to work. I was played out and I had to re-spark myself.” He credited his re-emergence to a couple of plays for Joseph Papp, “Wedding Band” with Ruby Dee and “In the Boom-Boom Room” with Madeleine Kahn. First inclined toward newspaper work, he studied journalism at the University of Missouri, but was drawn to acting and returned to New York to study at the Actors Studio. 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 Loggia made his film debut in “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” playing mobster Frankie Peppo, who tries to persuade boxer Rocky Graziano (Paul Newman) to throw a fight.

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