Robert Loggia, who is best known for his tough guy roles passed away peacefully in his Los Angeles home. "His poor body gave up," Robert's wife, Aubrey Loggia said. "He loved being an actor and he loved his life."
The son of Sicilian immigrants, the enigmatic actor was born in 1930 in Staten Island. He grew up in Manhattan's Little Italy section. He first aspired to become a journalist after studying in the University of Missouri. However, the allure of acting was something Robert found irresistible. Soon enough, he was on his way back to New York to study at the Actors Studio.
Loggia made his bigscreen debut in 1956, playing mobster Frankie Peppo in Somebody Up There Likes Me. He also made his stage debut in 1964 with the Actors Studio production of Chekhov's The Three Sisters.
His 1956 film debut marked the beginning of a gangster era for the actor. USA Today recalls the tough-faced Loggia playing a Miami drug lord in the timeless film, Scarface, which starred Al Pacino; a Sicilian mobster in "Prizzi's Honor" alongside Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner. Loggia also starred in David Lynch's Lost Highway, Innocent Blood and Armed and Dangerous, and again on David Chase's The Sopranos.
In an interview in 1990 after being asked how he maintained a varied career, Loggia answered: "I'm a character actor in that I play many different roles, and I'm virtually unrecognizable from one role to another. So I never wear out my welcome."
Despite his natural knack at portraying the bad guy, it wasn't his typical gangster role that earned him an Oscar nod. The legendary actor was nominated for his role as a seedy detective in the movie, Jagged Edge (1985) with Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges.
One of his well-loved roles was in the film, Big alongside Tom Hanks. Hanks, who wished to become big, grew to a 30-year old man overnight but still with a boy's mentality. He then worked in a toy store where he met the owner, who was played by Loggia. One scene that stood out was of the pair playing "Chopsticks" and "Heart and Soul" on the piano.
Hanks was among the first to pay tribute to the late actor.
Farewell, Robert Loggia. A great actor in heart and soul ... A sad day. Hanx
— Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) December 5, 2015
The great Robert Loggia has passed. My heart feels heavy with sadness but also gratitude that I was fortunate enough to know him. — Roland Emmerich (@rolandemmerich) December 4, 2015
R, as in "Robert Loggia." I, as in "It's Robert Loggia." P, as in "Pardon me, are you Robert Loggia?" RIP to the great Robert Loggia.
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) December 5, 2015
Rest peacefully kind, gentle, affectionate Robert Loggia. One of the loveliest people I've ever known. ❤️@tomhanks pic.twitter.com/ztxa5Npa5z — Elizabeth Perkins (@Elizbethperkins) December 5, 2015
So sad to just hear about the passing of Robert Loggia... A kind man, a giving actor, a true talent... He will be missed...
— Jason Priestley (@Jason_Priestley) December 4, 2015
Sad to hear Robert Loggia passed. Rarely does someone love this craft as much as he did to give us 6 decades of work #shrink K