Forceful leading actor Robert Loggia left plans for a journalistic career behind when he began his studies at New York's Actors Studio. His first important Broadway assignment was 1955's The Man with the Golden Arm; one year later, he made his first film, Somebody Up There Likes Me. In 1958 he enjoyed a brief flurry of TV popularity as the title character in "The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca," a multipart western originally telecast on Walt Disney Presents. His next weekly TV assignment was as a good-guy burglar in 1967's T.H.E. Cat. A fitfully successful movie leading man, Loggia truly came into his own when he cast off his toupee and became a character actor, often in roles requiring quiet menace. As Richard Gere's bullying father, Loggia dominated the precredits scenes of An Officer and a Gentleman (1981), and was equally effective as the villain in Curse of the Pink Panther (1982) and as mafia functionaries in Scarface (1983) and Prizzi's Honor (1985). He was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of a two-bit detective in The Jagged Edge (1985). The most likeable Robert Loggia screen character thus far is his toy manufacturer in Big (1988), the film in which Loggia and Tom Hanks exuberantly dance to the tune of "Heart and Soul" on a gigantic keyboard. Loggia would remain an active force on screen for decades to come, appearing in movies like Opportunity Knocks, Independence Day, and Return to Me, as well as TV shows like Mancuso, FBI, Wild Palms, and Queens Supreme. Loggia passed away in 2015, at age 85.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Played football in college.
- Wanted to be a journalist before deciding to pursue acting.
- Served in the Army as a reporter for the Caribbean Forces Network.
- Studied acting with Stella Adler.
- His first film appearance was a small part in 1956's Somebody Up There Likes Me.
- Made his directorial debut in 1979, with an episode of Quincy, and became a member of the Directors Guild of America. He also directed episodes of Magnum, P.I.
- In 1988, played the toymaker who danced on the giant keyboard with Tom Hanks in Big.