Robert Loggia, movie and TV tough guy favorite, dies at 85
BRENTWOOD, Calif. — Robert Loggia, the gravelly voiced actor whose roles in such films as “Scarface,” “Prizzi’s Honor,” “Big” and “Independence Day” generally consisted of tough guys with (occasionally) soft hearts, has died. He was 85.
Loggia died at noon Friday at his home in Brentwood, California, after a five-year struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, according to his wife of 41 years, Audrey Loggia.
Loggia, who was born in 1930, began his acting career in the 1950s and was a successful player on TV for years, taking small roles in such series as “Hawaii Five-O” and “The Six Million Dollar Man.”
But his career really didn’t hit its stride until the 1980s, when a series of character roles made him a sought-after supporting figure.
In short order, he was drug lord Frank Lopez in the 1983 Al Pacino version of “Scarface;” a mobster in 1985’s “Prizzi’s Honor;” a private detective in 1985’s “Jagged Edge;” a toy company owner in 1988’s “Big” and a controlling grandfather in 1987’s “Over the Top.”
He was nominated for an Oscar for “Jagged Edge.” He got to dance on an F.A.O Schwartz piano with Tom Hanks in “Big.” The latter role, he observed, was extremely satisfying, especially since he and Hanks were originally going to be put aside for stand-ins.
“We see two guys dressed like we were, and they were going to shoot (the scene) with just the feet. We thought that was ridiculous,” he told the A.V. Club. “We told the guys who were dressed like we were to take a hike. Tom and I did all the dance. Full-figured view.”
And in one take, he said.
Loggia later starred in a number of TV series, including “Mancuso, FBI” and “Sunday Dinner,” but his forte was generally supporting roles in both TV and film productions.
His other roles include a newspaper editor in 1994’s “I Love Trouble,” a general in 1996’s “Independence Day,” throwback gangster “Feech” La Manna in several episodes of “The Sopranos,” and Malcolm’s grandfather in “Malcolm in the Middle.”
For a guy who was regularly pigeonholed as a gangster or tough talker, Loggia appreciated being offered parts with range.
“When you read a script, you don’t want to be the same guy all the time, you want to change, you’re a different person,” he told the A.V. Club. “That’s why acting is a wonderful career. You’re not the same guy all the time.”
Loggia had three children with his first wife, Della Marjorie Sloan.