Veteran Actor Robert Loggia Passes Away At 85

5 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Scarface’ and ‘Sopranos’ actor Robert Loggia dies at 85.

Robert Loggia, the gravelly voiced character actor who danced with Tom Hanks on a giant floor keyboard in “Big,” fought aliens in “Independence Day” and trafficked in drugs in “Scarface,” died on Friday at age 85, his widow said.

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. He is going be terribly missed.” Loggia had been a journeyman actor on stage, TV and films until he made an impression playing Richard Gere’s abusive and alcoholic father in the 1982 blockbuster “An Officer and a Gentleman.” That performance led to meaty roles in other box-office hits. 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. Loggia, who could be both sly and sweet, carried an everyman’s understanding and a con-man’s cleverness to roles ranging from the owner of a toy company opposite Tom Hanks in “Big” to his Oscar-nominated turn as sordid private detective Sam Ransom in “Jagged Edge,” written by Joe Eszterhas and starring Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges.

In director Brian De Palma’s hit 1983 crime drama “Scarface,” Loggia played drug lord Frank Lopez alongside Al Pacino in the violent tale of Miami mobsters. 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. His most famous role was in director Penny Marshall’s bittersweet comedy Big, released in 1988 starring Tom Hanks as a boy whose wish to become an adult magically comes true.

He lost the best supporting actor Oscar to Don Ameche of “Cocoon.” Also in 1985, he starred alongside Jack Nicholson in director John Huston’s black comedy “Prizzi’s Honor,” which was nominated for a best picture Oscar. Together they danced to the songs Heart and Soul and Chopsticks on the jumbo floor keyboard at New York’s fabled FAO Schwarz toy store, in what was one of the famous cinematic scenes of the 1980s. 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 said Marshall allowed him and Hanks a lot of freedom in deciding how the scene would unfold, giving them a cardboard mock-up of the keyboard a few weeks before the scene was shot. “She very cleverly said, ‘I don’t want you to look like trained dancers, but you do the melody and you … and Tom, you work it out for yourself,” Loggia told the Miami Herald in 2006. They didn’t make the show that was promised me and that I promised affiliates and sponsors.” Loggia said the show was supposed to tell “bonafide” FBI stories. “They started to go into demographics and whom my secretary was sleeping with and Frick and Frack with a lady partner,” he said. “FBI people don’t have partners to begin with, so it was like the sexual escapade of the week.” Often referred to as a tough guy, Loggia could be suave and tender.

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. He played a general who advises the president of the United States, played by Bill Pullman, as tentacled aliens in huge spaceships devastate cities worldwide. 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. As a student at the University of Missouri, he studied journalism, but that passion faded when he returned to New York and enrolled 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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