Loggia, born Salvatore Loggia in New York City, had been suffering with Alzheimer’s disease for the last five years. Before beginning his acting career, he graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and served in the U.S. Army.
Robert Loggia’s Acting Career
The actor, he of the rugged face and craggy voice, began his television career with appearances in two soap operas, Search for Tomorrow and The Secret Storm, in 1951 and 1954 respectively. Loggia worked steadily throughout the 1950s, with perhaps his biggest break coming with a repeating role in Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Colorseries, Elfego Baca, from 1958 through 1960.
A veteran actor by the 1960s, Loggia appeared in a number of television series including The Wild Wild West and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. In 1966, he starred in his own TV series, T.H.E. Cat, in which he portrayed a former circus aerialist turned cat burglar who helped guard people who were in danger of being murdered. In an interview in 1986, Loggia revealed that when the series was canceled after only one year, it was a period of “Dante’s Inferno” for him. He didn’t want to work, explaining he needed to “respark” himself. (abcnews.go.com)
Even so, he remained active on television throughout the 1960s through the 1980s. It was in 1985 when Loggia received his only Academy Award nomination as supporting actor in the movie, Jagged Edge, in which he played Sam Ransom, a seedy detective.
Many of the actor’s roles were as a gangster in movies such as Prizzi’s Honor andScarface, then as a wise guy in roles on The Sopranos, Lost Highway and Armed and Dangerous. It is ironic that the one role for which he will probably be best remembered is as the toy store owner who played the gigantic piano keyboard with fellow actor Tom Hanks in Penny Marshall’s 1988 movie, Big.
Loggia Remembered with Respect by Tom Hanks
Hanks took to Twitter to make his public condolences upon learning of Loggia’s death saying, “A great actor in heart and soul. A sad day.” (abcnews.go.com) Loggia enjoyed a long and prosperous career, despite not having won a case full of show business trophies.