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If you spent much time watching movies or television over the last, let’s say 50 years, but especially in the 1970s and ‘80s, and especially crime stories of some variety, you know the stern face and tough, gravelly voice of veteran character actor Robert Loggia. An Oscar nominee for his supporting work in Jagged Edge in 1986, Loggia passed away today at the age of 85.
Loggia’s wife of 33 years, Audrey, confirmed his death to Variety. He had been battling Alzheimer’s Disease for the past five years, though he didn’t let it slow down his productivity any, as he has four acting credits in 2015 alone, with even more on the way.
After as stint in the military, he trained with Stella Adler at the Actor’s Studio and started his career on the stage in New York City in the 1950s. The Staten Island son of Italian immigrants then went on to amass more than 200 roles in a career that spanned seven decades.
Loggia was most known for playing tough guys on one side of the law or the other, and his resume is full of cops and gangsters. He showed up on TV in westerns like Gunsmoke and Rawhide; on countless police procedurals, like Columbo, Hawaii Five-O, Magnum PI, and my personal favorite, Mancuso, FBI (that’s my childhood right there)—he even played three different characters on three different episodes of The Rockford Files; and even had a small recurring role on HBO’s The Sopranos in the 2000s.
On the film side of things, he popped up in everything from Scarface to Big to multiple installments of the Pink Panther franchise. Then there’s another personal favorite, the Sylvester Stallone arm wrestling/family drama, Over the Top. And that’s just to name a scant few, the list goes on and on.
Even though he was generally relegated to certain roles, lawmen and criminals, and, as he got older, staunch authority figures, he was extremely versatile and found a startling variety within these parts. Though the bulk of his work is grim and serious, he was never afraid to dabble in comedy, and as severe and dour as many of his characters were, he still managed to infuse them with heart and warmth—how can you forget the scene where he dances on the piano with Tom Hanks in Big? He even poked fun at himself and his reputation on Family Guy.
Loggia is survived by his wife, Audrey; his three children, John, Kristina, and Tracy; and his stepdaughter, Cynthia.