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Robert Loggia

Robert Loggia

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: January 3, 1930 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Staten Island, New York, USA Profession: actor, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

With his gravelly voice and tough-as-nails exterior, it would have been easy for veteran actor Robert Loggia to be relegated exclusively to playing the heavy. And he might have, were it not for his dogged determination, innate onscreen gravitas, and a few lucky breaks. After studying under famed acting instructor Stella Adler in New York, he scored roles off- and on Broadway before making his film debut in the Paul Newman vehicle "Somebody Up There Likes Me" (1956), as well as beginning a steady career on television. However, after the failure of his first starring series, "T.H.E. Cat" (NBC, 1966-67), Loggia almost called it quits. He eventually resumed acting, but found little satisfaction playing mostly thugs on series like "The Rockford Files" (NBC, 1974-1980). Just as he was about to forgo acting in favor of becoming a director, Loggia landed a role that would change his life. In "An Officer and a Gentleman" (1982), Loggia showed both audiences and filmmakers a whole new side of himself as Richard Gere's abusive father, suddenly making the transition from minor player to respected character actor. In 1983, he appeared with Al Pacino in the blood-soaked "Scarface," and was nominated for an Oscar...

With his gravelly voice and tough-as-nails exterior, it would have been easy for veteran actor Robert Loggia to be relegated exclusively to playing the heavy. And he might have, were it not for his dogged determination, innate onscreen gravitas, and a few lucky breaks. After studying under famed acting instructor Stella Adler in New York, he scored roles off- and on Broadway before making his film debut in the Paul Newman vehicle "Somebody Up There Likes Me" (1956), as well as beginning a steady career on television. However, after the failure of his first starring series, "T.H.E. Cat" (NBC, 1966-67), Loggia almost called it quits. He eventually resumed acting, but found little satisfaction playing mostly thugs on series like "The Rockford Files" (NBC, 1974-1980). Just as he was about to forgo acting in favor of becoming a director, Loggia landed a role that would change his life. In "An Officer and a Gentleman" (1982), Loggia showed both audiences and filmmakers a whole new side of himself as Richard Gere's abusive father, suddenly making the transition from minor player to respected character actor. In 1983, he appeared with Al Pacino in the blood-soaked "Scarface," and was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of a rumpled investigator in "Jagged Edge" (1985). Loggia scored roles in blockbusters like "Independence Day" (1996), while at the same time amazing audiences with performances like his recurring role of Tony Soprano's recently sprung enemy on "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1998-2007). While not one to open a movie on the strength of his name, Robert Loggia instead remained one of the prolific, recognizable faces for generations in both film and on television.

Loggia was born on Jan. 3, 1930 in Staten Island, NY to Sicilian immigrants Benjamin, a shoemaker, and his wife, Elena. Robert graduated from New Dorp High School in 1947 as a promising athlete with the intention of pursuing a career in journalism, a goal his parents had instilled in him from an early age. But it was while attending New York's Wagner College that Loggia was first bitten by the acting bug when a professor tapped him for a role in Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew." While the experience did spark a creative interest in young Robert, he was not deterred from his original pursuit, graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in Journalism in 1951. Shortly thereafter, Robert enlisted in the Army where he served as a reporter for the Caribbean Forces Network. However, upon his return to New York City the lure of the stage called once more, and Loggia began studying with famed acting coach Stella Adler. His course newly set, Robert soon made his off-Broadway debut in "The Man with the Golden Arm" (1955) as well as his first feature film role in 1956's boxing biopic "Somebody Up There Likes Me," alongside Paul Newman.

A flurry of projects on stage, television and screen soon came Loggia's way. The young actor acquitted himself nicely as a union zealot in 1957's "The Garment Jungle," followed by his first leading role in the sci-fi thriller "The Lost Missile" (1958). Around this time Robert was also landing roles on some of television's most revered series, such as "Studio One in Hollywood" (CBS, 1948-1958) and "Playhouse 90" (CBS, 1956-1960). But it was the title role in the 10-part series "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color: The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca" (ABC, 1958-1960) that finally brought Loggia major recognition. Robert returned to the stage in 1960 for a production of Lillian Hellman's "Toys in the Attic." Three years later, Loggia made his Broadway debut with Chekhov's "The Three Sisters." The next year he made his London stage debut with the same production and in 1966 reprised the same role on film. However, with the exception of his portrayal of Joseph in George Stevens' religious epic "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965), the remainder of the decade and into the next found Loggia working almost entirely in television.

After dozens of guest appearances on various programs, Robert took the starring role in the short-lived series "T.H.E. Cat" (NBC, 1966-67), a crime-drama featuring Loggia as a former cat burglar-turned-bodyguard. The show did not do well, and was cancelled after just one season. Robert's rising star seemed to lose momentum, and to a large extent, he stepped away from acting. By the early 1970s, Loggia returned to television, and at one point in 1972 even joined the cast of the CBS daytime soap "Search for Tomorrow" (1951-1987). Soon he fell into the unwelcome niche of playing the heavy on series like "The Rockford Files" (NBC, 1974-80), "Starsky & Hutch" (ABC, 1975-79), and "Charlie's Angels" (ABC, 1976-1981). Although there was a brief return to the Broadway stage in David Rabe's "In the Boom Boom Room" (1973), it was still television projects like the financial potboiler miniseries "Arthur Hailey's 'The Money Changers'" (1976) and 1977's NBC actioner "Raid on Entebbe" that made up the bulk of Loggia's résumé. In 1978, Robert appeared in Blake Edwards' "Revenge of the Pink Panther," a collaboration that would continue over four more films with the director. Tired of being pigeonholed playing the well-dressed gangster, Loggia decided to take a shot at the director's chair, and in 1980 helmed an episode of "Quincy, M.E." (NBC, 1976-1983) in addition to two early episodes of "Magnum, P.I." (CBS, 1980-88). It seemed like Robert Loggia was once again charting a new course for himself.

Fate, however, had other plans for Loggia when he was cast as Richard Gere's abusive and alcoholic father in "An Officer and a Gentleman" (1982). The film was a massive success and Robert's gritty performance brought him to the attention of a whole new generation of filmmakers. As an actor, Loggia was suddenly busier than ever, appearing in two more Blake Edwards films, in addition to a recurring role on the CBS clunker "Emerald Point N.A.S." (1983-84). But it was his turn as crime boss Frank Lopez in Brian De Palma's bloody gangster film "Scarface" (1983) that cemented Loggia's status as an A-list character actor. Capitalizing on that success, Loggia next played a down-on-his-luck detective in the 1985 thriller "Jagged Edge," earning an Oscar nomination in the process. That same year he appeared in the John Huston-directed black comedy "Prizzi's Honor" alongside Jack Nicholson. Loggia kept busy over the next few years, appearing in a string of star-studded, albeit less successful, films. There was another Blake Edwards comedy, "That's Life!" (1986), as well as the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling fiasco, "Over the Top" (1987), and the thriller "The Believers" (1988) with Martin Sheen. But it was in 1988's "Big," starring Tom Hanks, that Loggia gave perhaps his most endearing performance to date, as the amiable toy magnate dancing alongside Hanks to the tune of "Heart and Soul" on a giant piano keyboard.

Robert closed out the Eighties with another shot at episodic television, starring in "Mancuso: F.B.I." (1989-1990), a spin-off from the 1988 miniseries "Favorite Son." Although it did earn Loggia his first Emmy nomination, it failed to catch on and lasted only a single season. Never one to slow down, Robert continued to alternate between film and television work, with parts in 1991's "The Marrying Man," featuring Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, the lackluster sports romp, "Necessary Roughness" (1991), in addition to John Landis' "Innocent Blood" (1992), in which he played yet another mob boss. In 1993, he appeared as a mad politician in the bizarre futuristic miniseries "Wild Palms." And while it was not a large role, Loggia's turn as a general advising the president during an alien invasion in 1996's "Independence Day" once again placed the seasoned actor in a bona fide hit film. Robert followed up with appearances in the nearly unfathomable David Lynch psychological thriller "Lost Highway" (1997), the misguided Eddie Murphy comedy "Holy Man" (1998), as well as the romantic comedy "Return to Me" (2000), directed by Bonnie Hunt.

In 2000, Robert showed off his criminally underexploited comedic talent in an episode of NBC's "Frasier." Loggia followed that up with another hilarious turn as the demanding patriarch, Grandpa Victor, on Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle" in 2001. That episode would garner the actor his second Emmy nomination. Always willing to try something new, Loggia's distinctively raspy voice brought him a surprising line of side work in the form of voice acting for video games. Robert brought his substantial vocal presence to several highly anticipated games, such as "Grand Theft Auto III" (2001) and "Scarface: The World is Yours" (2006). However, it was his appearance in several episodes of the fifth season of "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1998-2006) that once again had both the critics and the public talking about Robert Loggia. His portrayal of Feech La Manna, a former mob boss recently released from prison and looking to get back in the game was considered by many to be one of Loggia's best, as well as a highlight of the acclaimed series. The latter part of the decade found Loggia still working, but for the most part in smaller roles in several low-budget, barely-seen films. The conspiracy thriller "The Deal" (2005) starring Christian Slater, and "Shrink" (2009) with Kevin Spacey exemplified the trend. In 2009, Loggia made a brief appearance in one of Apple Computer's ever-present "Get a Mac" ads, as a personal trainer trying without success to get the PC character back in shape. Loggia also guest starred in a 2009 episode of Ray Romano's mid-life crisis dramedy "Men of a Certain Age."

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Life Zone, The (2012)
4.
 Margarine Wars (2011)
5.
 Harvest (2010)
6.
 Shrink (2009)
7.
 Forget About It (2008)
8.
 Room and Board (2007)
9.
 3055 Jean Leon (2007)
10.
 Funny Money (2007)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Manhattan's Little Italy
1948:
Made stage debut as Petruchio in "The Taming of the Shrew" at Wagner College
1951:
Served in US Army as a news reporter for the Caribbean Forces Network in Panama
1955:
Off-Broadway debut, "The Man With the Golden Arm"
1956:
Film debut, "Somebody Up There Likes Me"
:
Made early TV appearances on "Studio One" and "Playhouse 90" (both CBS)
1958:
First starring film role, "The Lost Missile"
1958:
TV series debut, played title character in "The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca", a 10-part series broadcast as segments of ABC's "Walt Disney Presents"
1960:
Acted in Off-Broadway production of Lillian Hellman's "Toys in the Attic"
1963:
Broadway debut as Solyony in an Actors Studio production of Anton Chekhov's "The Three Sisters"; reprised role on the London stage and in the subsequent film version
1965:
Portrayed Joseph in "The Greatest Story Ever Told"
:
Starred in NBC series "T.H.E. Cat"; initial collaboration with director Boris Sagal, who helmed episodes
1969:
Played Faustino Morales in "Che!", a great 1960s film joke starring Jack Palance as Fidel Castro
1972:
Had role as Frank Carver on daytime serial, "The Secret Storm" (CBS)
1973:
Joined the CBS daytime serial "Search for Tomorrow"
:
Returned to Broadway in production of David Rabe's "In the Boom Boom Room"
1976:
TV-movie debut, "Arthur Hailey's 'The Moneychangers'" (NBC), directed by Sagal; also acted in Sagal's NBC movie "Mallory: Circumstantial Evidence"
1978:
First film with director Blake Edwards, "Revenge of the Pink Panther"; was featured in 1982 and 1983 "Panther" sequels
1980:
TV directorial debut, an episode of the NBC drama series "Quincy, M.E."
1980:
Directed pilot episode of "Magnum, P.I" (CBS)
1981:
Reteamed with Edwards on "S.O.B."
1982:
Portrayed Richard Gere's bullying, alcoholic father in "An Officer and a Gentleman"
1982:
Acted the part of Anwar Sadat in syndicated miniseries, "A Woman Called Golda"
1983:
Played Miami drug kingpin Frank Lopez in "Scarface"
:
Appeared as KGB spy Admiral Yuri Bukharin in CBS series, "Emerald Point, N.A.S."
1984:
First TV project with Angie Dickinson, the CBS movie "A Touch of Scandal"
1985:
Received Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a two-bit detective in "Jagged Edge"; also played a mafioso in "Prizzi's Honor"
1986:
Fifth and last film (to date) with Edwards, "That's Life!"
1987:
Displayed the gentle side of his nature as the compassionate father of a young woman with cerebral palsy in "Gaby--A True Story"
1987:
Portrayed attorney William Kuntsler in HBO movie, "Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8"
1988:
Delighted audiences as a toymaker in "Big", dancing with Tom Hanks to the tune of "Heart and Soul" on a giant keyboard
1988:
Provided the voice of Sykes in animated "Oliver and Company"
1988:
Introduced the character of jaded FBI agent Nick Mancuso in the NBC miniseries "Favorite Son"
:
Starred as title character in "Nick Mancuso, F.B.I." (NBC); earned sole Emmy nomination as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
1991:
Starred as a middle-aged widower who shocks his adult children by becoming engaged to a 30-year-old woman in the short-lived comedy series "Sunday Dinner" (CBS), executive produced and created by Norman Lear
1992:
Joined director John Landis for his mobster-vampire spoof, "Innocent Blood", playing gang boss Sal the Shark
1993:
Played the Senator, a messianic political leader at the head of a Scientology-like cult, in ABC's futuristic miniseries "Wild Palms", which reteamed him with Dickinson
1995:
Essayed mobster Carlo Gambino in CBS movie "Between Love and Honor"
1996:
Portrayed General William Grey in summer blockbuster, "Independence Day"
1997:
Appeared as a gangster in David Lynch's "Lost Highway"
1997:
Cast as the title character's American physician father in "Smilla's Sense of Snow"
1997:
Played Frank Torre in Showtime's "Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way", a biopic of the New York Yankees manager
1997:
Starred as Don Vito Leoni in the mob comedy "The Don's Analyst" (TMC), which reunited him with Dickinson
1998:
Offered a subdued and amiable turn as Grandpa Beal in M Night Shyamalan's "Wide Awake"
1999:
Contributed a cameo as Father Monet to the classy CBS miniseries "Joan of Arc"
1999:
Cast as yet another gangster, playing the small role of Don Ciccio in the Showtime miniseries "Bonanno: A Godfather's Story"
1999:
Narrated History Channel documentary, "Defeat at Waterloo: Napoleon vs. Wellington"
1999:
Appeared in commercials for Minute Maid orange juice
2000:
Was part of the all-star supporting cast (i.e., Carroll O'Connor, James Belushi, Daivd Allan Grier) for Bonnie Hunt's "Return to Me", starring David Duchovny and Minnie Driver
2000:
Acted in Hugh Hudson's "I Dream of Africa", starring Kim Basinger as Kuki Gallmann, who escaped her monotonous life in Italy to become a leading wildlife advocate
2001:
Starred as Zack, a destitute, alcoholic man who has supposedly travelled back through time to convice his youthful self to change the course of his life in "All Over Again" (filmed 1999), an independent film shot on location in Chatanooga, Tennessee; screened at film festivals
2001:
Made guest appearance on the hit Fox series "Malcolm in the Middle" as Lois' father; received Emmy nomination
2003:
Joined the cast of "The Sopranos" as a mafia wiseguy released from prison
2005:
Cast opposite Christian Slater in the political thriller "The Deal"
2007:
Co-starred in "Funny Money" a film adaptation of the 1994 play written by Ray Cooney
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Wagner College: Staten Island , New York - 1947 - 1949
University of Missouri: Columbia , Missouri - 1951
Actors Studio: New York , New York - 1955

Notes

"I'm a character actor in that I play many different roles, and I'm virtually unrecognizable from one role to another, so I never wear out my welcome." --Robert Loggia quoted in press material for "Opportunity Knocks" (1990).

"Life is very Dante-esque. Everybody goes through their midlife crisis, with ailments, lost prowess, lost ability, loss of loved ones, loss of mother. That's a big one.

"Age brings grief, but also understanding. Acting however, is a continually rejuvenating experience." --Loggia to Kathy Gilbert, Times & Free Press (Chattanooga, Tennessee), October 2, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Marjorie Loggia. Married in 1954; divorced; mother of Loggia's three children.
wife:
Audrey Loggia. Business executive. Second wife; married on December 27, 1982.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Benjamin Loggia. Shoe designer.
mother:
Elena Loggia.
daughter:
Tracey Loggia. Actor. Mother, Marjorie Sloan.
son:
John Loggia. Production designer, director, producer. Mother, Marjorie Sloan; produced and directed "Live Free and Die" (1998), with his mother (credited as Marjorie Loggia) in cast.
daughter:
Kristina Loggia. Actor. Mother, Marjorie Sloan; married to actor James Le Gros.
step-daughter:
Cynthia Marlette. Mother, Audrey Loggia.
son-in-law:
James Le Gros. Actor. Married to Kristina Loggia.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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