Robert Loggia (1930-2015)
“…as an actor. I do dream it, I do conceive it, and it’s there.”
It was sad to hear of Robert Loggia’s passing this past weekend. After all what cinema fan of our generation doesn’t respect Loggia? I remember growing up and easily recognizing his gruff, raspy voice and looking like one of my mother’s Italian uncles. He could easily be a subject of our Unsung Heroes of Hollywood posts because he was never a headlining actor in his 50-year-plus career yet always was an outstanding actor and usually stole a scene with his authoritarian demeanor.
I was surprised to see in his filmography that he didn’t play a mafioso as much as I thought. To his credit, he was one of his generations’ Italian-American actors who wasn’t typecast so much and has played a vast array of characters. My personal favorites were the union president in Armed and Dangerous and college football coach in Necessary Roughness. Later on, I discovered his stand-out roles in Brian DePalma’s Scarface and Richard Gere’s degenerate father in An Officer and A Gentleman. I haven’t seen John Landis’ vampire crime/horror/comedy Innocent Blood in a long time but I remember Loggia had an interesting and memorable role in that as well. And who can forget his gut-wrenching tour-de-force performance as rich grandfather Jason Cutler in Sylvester Stallone’s arm wrestling magnum opus Over the Top!
I wish I could say more to his credit but sadly, I have not seen most of his other movies. Still, sad to see one of the more versatile and reliable actors that I grew up seeing often pass on.
I’m sure if you watched the news or turned in to a social media site and noticed the tributes to Loggia, this clip from Penny Marshall’s Big was probably the one clip to show how great Loggia was on screen. I initially was going to show another clip of his but damn it, that Big scene is just too classic to not show here as well. It’s one of the more iconic movie scenes of all time and to this day you can’t go into FAO Schwartz and not dance on a giant piano.