Tom Hanks pays tribute to Big costar Robert Loggia: ‘A great actor in heart …

6 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Actor Robert Loggia, played gangsters from ’Scarface’ to ’Sopranos,’ dies at 85.

Loggia played the kindly toy company owner in the 1988 film, and famously tickled the giant-sized, light-up ivories with Hanks in Big’s iconic keyboard scene. 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.The actor, who played drug lord Frank Lopez in movie classic Scarface and picked up an Oscar nomination for his role in Jagged Edge, died at his home on Friday (04Dec15), according to his wife Audrey. Elizabeth Perkins, who starred alongside Hanks and Loggia in the film, also paid tribute, as did other celebrities like Seth MacFarlane, Kevin Spacey, and Roland Emmerich.

Famous for playing gangsters and bad guys, Loggia also appeared in Big, An Officer and a Gentleman, Prizzi’s Honor and on TV series The Sopranos – as mobster Feech La Manna. He was also nominated for an Emmy Award in 1989 for his portrayal of FBI agent Nick Mancuso in Mancuso FBI, and again in 2000 for his guest role in TV comedy Malcolm in the Middle.

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. Loggia (pronounced LOH-juh) fit neatly into gangster roles, playing a Miami drug lord in “Scarface” (1983), which starred Al Pacino; and a Sicilian mobster in “Prizzi’s Honor” (1985), with Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner.

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. Army before embarking on an acting career, landing his first film role in 1956 film Somebody Up There Likes Me, which starred Paul Newman as boxer Rocky Graziano. 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.

When the series was cancelled 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. He also portrayed Joseph, husband of Mary, in George Stevens’s 1965 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. 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.

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