Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Late Great Robert Loggia

Robert Loggia, the prolific actor who was nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Jagged Edge (1985), died on December 4 2015 at the age of 85. The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Robert Loggia was born Robert Salvatore Loggia on Staten Island on January 3 1930. He attended New Dorp High School in Staten Island and then Wagner College there. He studied journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. He served in the United States Army before he decided to pursue a career in acting.

He made his film debut in an uncredited role in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956). In the late Fifties he appeared in such films as The Garment Jungle (1957), Cop Hater (1958), and The Lost Missile (1958). On television he played the lead role of Elfego Baca in a mini-series on the anthology series Disneyland. He guest starred on the shows Studio One, Matinee Theatre, Playhouse 90, Wagon Train, Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, Alcoa Presents One Step Beyond, The United States Steel Hour, and Overland Trail.

In the Sixties Robert Loggia played the lead role on the TV show T.H.E. Cat. On the series he played Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat, a reformed cat burglar who decided to use his skills to help the innocent. The show only lasted a single season. He also guest starred on such TV shows as Naked City, Alcoa Premiere, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Untouchables, The Dick Powell Theatre, The Defenders, Rawhide, Route 66, Ben Casey, Combat!, Gunsmoke, Run for Your Life, The Wild Wild West, Tarzan, The Big Valley, Then Came Bronson, and The High Chaparral. He appeared in the films Cattle King (1963), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), The Three Sisters (1966--recreating the role his Broadway role), and Che! (1969). On Broadway he appeared in the production The Three Sisters.

In the Seventies Robert Loggia had recurring roles on the soap operas The Secret Storm and Search for Tomorrow. He also had a regular role in the mini-series Arthur Hailey's the Moneychangers. He guest starred on such shows as The F.B.I., Kojak, The Manhunter, Mannix, Harry O, Ellery Queen, McMillan & Wife, Columbo, Wonder Woman, Police Woman, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Rockford Files, Hawaii Five-O, and Charlie's Angels. He appeared in the films Turn the Other Cheek (1974), Speedtrap (1977), First Love (1977), Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978), and The Ninth Configuration (1980). He appeared on Broadway in the play Boom Boom Room.

In the Eighties Robert Loggia appeared in such films An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), Trail of the Pink Panther (1982), Psycho II (1983), Curse of the Pink Panther (1983), Scarface (1983),  Prizzi's Honour (1985), Jagged Edge (1985),  Hot Pursuit (1987), The Believers (1987), Big (1988), Relentless (1989), and Opportunity Knocks (1990).  He starred on the TV shows Emerald Point N.A.S. and Mancuso, FBI. He guest starred on such TV shows as Fantasy Island; Little House on the Prairie; Falcon Crest; Matt Houston; Murder, She Wrote; Alfred Hitchcock Presents; and Magnum P. I. 

In the Nineties Robert Loggia starred in the TV comedy Sunday Dinner and the mini-series Wild Palms. He guest starred on Frasier, Touched by an Angel, The Outer Limits, and Dharma & Greg. He appeared in such films as The Marrying Man (1991), Gladiator (1992), Innocent Blood (1992), Bad Girls (1994), I Love Trouble (1994), Man with a Gun (1995), Independence Day (1996), Lost Highway (1997), The Proposition (1998), The Suburbans (1999), and American Virgin (1999).

In the Naughts Mr. Loggia starred on the TV show Queens Supreme and had a recurring role on The Sopranos. He guest starred on such shows as Monk, Hawaii Five-0, and Men of a Certain Age. He appeared in such films as The Shipment (2001), The Deal (2005), Funny Money (2006), Wild Seven (2006), The Boneyard Collection (2008), and  Harvest (2010).

In the Teens Robert Loggia appeared in such films as Fake (2011), Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie (2012), Before It's Too Late (2013), Real Gangsters (2013), An Evergreen Christmas (2014), and Sicilian Vampire (2015). He will appear in three films next year: 12 Angry Men and Women (2016), Renaissance Man (2016), and Hospital Arrest (2016).

Robert Loggia described himself as a character actor and there can be no doubt it was an accurate description. Over the years he played a wide variety of roles. His very first film role was that of a gangster trying to convince boxer Rocky Graziano (played by Paul Newman) to throw a fight. Over the years he would play many more gangsters in everything from the movie Scarface (1983) to the TV show The Sopranos. That having been said, he played a wide variety of other roles as well. In fact, what may have been his two best known television roles were heroes: Western lawman Elfego Baca on Disneyland and T.H.E. Cat in the TV show of the same name. Over the years he played everything from scientists to lawyers to a toy store owner (Mr. MacMillan in Big). Mr. Loggia was convincing in all of these roles. Even when a particular film might not have been very good, Robert Loggia was always guaranteed to give a good performance. He was a true professional and the epitome of a character actor.

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