Salvatore Loggia, known as Robert Loggia, died Friday, December 4, after a five-year battle with Alzheimer’s. He was a character actor whose career spanned over six decades.
His wife, Audrey (O’Brien) Loggia commented on the actor’s passion for life and struggles over the last several years, per a Page Six report.
“His poor body gave up. He loved being an actor and he loved his life.”
Loggia, an Italian American, was born on Staten Island, New York, on January 3, 1930. Both his father, Beniamino Loggia, a shoemaker, and mother, Palma di Montechiaro, a homemaker, were from Sicily. Robert Loggia performed in The Taming of the Shrew, while pursuing a degree at the University of Missouri, graduating in 1951.
Although he prepared for a career as a newsman with a journalism degree, he decided to pursue an acting career, but was drafted to the Army, served a two-year stint, and resumed acting, studying at the renowned Actor’s Studio in New York City.
He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination in 1985 for his role as foul-mouthed private detective Sam Ransom in Jagged Edge, alongside Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges. It was one of the numerous roles he played as a tough-talking guy.
Loved Robert Loggia as the PI in Jagged Edge. He was beamed in from the 40s with all the class of that time too. RIP pic.twitter.com/oS7dRoS03Q
— Andy Mannion (@andymannion77) December 4, 2015
Warning: The below video is for adult audiences, and contents may be offensive to some viewers.
Robert Loggia, like many actors, appreciated different types of roles and liked playing a range of characters, noted an A.V. Club interview.
“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. That’s why acting is a wonderful career. You’re not the same guy all the time.”
As a different character, Loggia breathed a child-like persona into Mr. McMillan, a fictional toy company owner, when he danced on top of a piano keyboard with Josh Baskin, a child who was granted a wish to be an adult in Big. It is one of Robert Loggia’s most memorable roles, and a fellow actor payed homage on Twitter.
RIP Robert Loggia. Quality and class personified. Loved him in ‘Scarface’ and who can forget this moment from ‘Big’ pic.twitter.com/hHOY6IaTo2
— Daniel Mays (@DanielMays9) December 5, 2015
Long before Robert Loggia starred in films, he made his acting debut on live television dramas such as Studio One and Playhouse 90. In 1956, he appeared off-Broadway as a drug addict in The Man with the Golden Arm. His Broadway debut was in Chekhov’s The Three Sisters in 1964.
Loggia appeared on television as well as the Silver Screen. Although he was in his 50s, the 1980s was the time when his career skyrocketed and he appeared in numerous supporting roles. He was Frank Lopez in Al Pacino’s version of Scarface, a 1983 classic that made it’s Blu-Ray debut in 2011.
Robert Loggia also played a mobster in 1985’s Prizi’s Honor. His work continued through the 1990s, as General William Grey in Independence Day and into the 21st century, as Apostle Peter in Apostle Peter and the Last Supper in 2012.
Warning: This below video contains violence and profanity, which may be offensive to some viewers.
At one point, after a long-running television series T.H.E. Cat was cancelled, Loggia, who had always lived in New York considered leaving acting altogether, per the Hollywood Reporter. He was going through a difficult time in life including a divorce. He considered moving to Los Angeles and never getting married again, but said this was only for about two weeks. He later met then future wife Audrey, which changed his perspective, leading him into a career that began with Mannix (1975). After this, he “never stopped working.”
Robert Loggia is survived by wife Audrey, three children from a first marriage to Marjorie Sloan, and a stepdaughter.
[Image via Jason Kempin/Getty Images]