Over the weekend, Hollywood lost another film legend as Robert Loggia passed away at the age of 85 on December 4.
Loggia is perhaps best known for his roles in films like Scarface, where he played drug dealer Frank Lopez, who takes Tony Montana under his wing before ultimately getting betrayed by him; Over the Top, playing the father-in-law of Sylvester Stallone’s arm wrestling tournament contender; and who can forget Big, where he performs the famous FAO Schwarz piano scene with Tom Hanks.
Robert Loggia was born Salvatore Loggia in New York City on January 3, 1930. In his early twenties, he became interested in becoming an actor and followed his dream. He started out making appearances in television series in the late fifties. He made his film debut in 1956 with an uncredited role in the Rocky Graziano biopic Somebody Up There Likes Me. From 1958 to 1960, Loggia took the titular role of Elfego Baca in a series of episodes of The Wonderful World of Disney.
While Robert appeared on many television programs, he would make the occasional film in the sixties and seventies. He appeared in three of Blake Edwards’ Pink Panther series of films.
However, in the 1980’s, Loggia became a household name with his role of Miami-based drug lord Frank Lopez in Scarface. From there, he shifted his focus to films and made the occasional television appearance. In 1988’s Big, he played MacMillan, the owner of a toy company who eyes the now-adult Josh Baskin, played by Tom Hanks. As mentioned, they perform one of the most memorable movie scenes in the past three decades, playing “Heart and Soul” and “Chopsticks” on the big piano floor at the now-defunct FAO Schwarz in New York City.
One of my favorite film roles that Loggia took on was assistant football coach Wally Riggensdorf in the comedy Necessary Roughness in 1991. He brought funny wit to the role, being the comic opposite of Hector Elizondo’s more serious head coach. The best scene is where he must take over the coaching position for the team’s game due to the head coach falling ill and he just goes on a rampage during halftime.
Despite battling Alzheimer’s for the past five years, Loggia continued to live his passion for acting until the very end. Prior to his death, Loggia completed three films, two set for release next year.
Loggia is survived by his second wife Audrey and three children from his first wife.
A true legend…Rest in Peace, Salvatore “Robert” Loggia.
You can see his filmography on his Internet Movie Database page.