Actor Joseph “Joe” Bologna died Sunday morning at the age of 82 at a hospital in Duarte, California.
According to the SFGate, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter and actor, primarily known for his memorable performance in the 1982 comedy My Favorite Year, began his battle with pancreatic cancer three years ago. His wife of 52 years, actress Renee Taylor (who played Fran Drescher’s mother in the hit 1990s sitcom The Nanny) reportedly confirmed the news of her husband’s health condition.
During a 1989 televised interview with Skip E. Lowe, Joe Bologna and Renee Taylor opened up about their successful marriage and how they were able to balance their frequent collaborations professionally with their personal relationship over the years.
Renee stated that it was “easy to be happily married…if you know how.” She even explained a “creative way” that she and Joe would fight by essentially scheduling appointments to fight followed by a fun date night such as bowling and dinner. Joe Bologna followed his wife’s comments up with a little humor, claiming that they would hire people to step in and fight for them.
Sharon and I got to hang out in the lobby with Joe Bologna and Renee Taylor on Friday… sweetest couple ever! pic.twitter.com/HvnLq3zUj8
— Dino DiMuro (@DinoDiMuro) May 13, 2013
with Joseph Bologna.I feel so lucky to play at his new comedy film”Tango Shalom”!I feel so happy to play with Renee Taylor!Blessing couple❤️ pic.twitter.com/kiqsIjgw7P
— Despina Mirou (@DespinaMirou) April 11, 2017
On a more serious note, Renee mentioned the healthy approach of switching places and having honest conversations with one another.
“We have a lot of empathy for each other. If I have an argument with him… I become him, he becomes me. We change places when we argue and we have this agreement that nobody can hit or call each other names or leave the room. In 40 minutes, by taking each other’s position and being open and listening to the other person and supporting each other… we share everything.”
To say that Joe Bologna and Renee Taylor were “frequent collaborators” may actually be an understatement, especially when you consider the impressive list of work and projects that they shared over the years. Bologna shared his Oscar nomination for his screenwriting work alongside David Zelag Goodman and Renee Taylor on Lovers and Other Strangers in 1970. They also shared an Emmy win for writing Acts of Love and Other Comedies, a Marlo Thomas televised special that aired in 1973.
Reports confirm that Bologna and Taylor wrote a total of 22 plays together, including If You Ever Leave Me I’m Going With You, Bermuda Avenue Triangle, and It Had to Be You.
Joe Bologna’s work as an actor extends back to the early 1970s. Over the years, he has starred in quite a few films and even had memorable performances in supporting roles. For instance, he played Lenny Koufax in the 1999 hit Adam Sandler film, Big Daddy.
I dunno about you but when I watch Riverdale, I still see Jughead as Adam Sandler’s kid from “Big Daddy”, Yeah, I’m that old pic.twitter.com/erzSMT79Zd
— Jiggy Gregorio (@mgypop) April 30, 2017
Bologna played Adam’s father in the film. It was a relatively small role in comparison to the other actors and actresses in the film. However, Bologna was still able to tug on heartstrings alongside Sandler in an emotional courtroom scene in the final act of the movie. Joe Bologna even shared the screen with another recently deceased actor, Alan Thicke, over 30 years ago in the 1987 TV film Not Quite Human.
Joe Bologna was mourned by numerous fans and celebrities alike on Twitter on Sunday after the news of his death was confirmed.
— Al Roker (@alroker) August 14, 2017
You &Renee Taylor are American Masters.
You were a brilliant, inspiring angel to me from day one. pic.twitter.com/WJQJLXieqi
— Richard Lewis (@TheRichardLewis) August 14, 2017
Joe Bologna was great. RIP.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) August 14, 2017
Earlier this year, Joe Bologna received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Night of 100 Stars Oscar Gala to celebrate his six-decade career as an actor and screenwriter, creating an artistic legacy that will continue to leave an impression in the hearts and minds of his past, present, and future fans.
[Featured Image by Ryan Miller/Invision/AP]