Robert Loggia, veteran character actor whose career spanned 6 decades and who received an Oscar nomination in 1986 for his role in Jagged Edge died Friday in Los Angeles, his family confirmed. He was 85.
Born on Staten Island, New York in 1930, Loggia attended the University of Missouri and served in the US Army before embarking on his career in entertainment. First working as a radio and TV anchor in the Panama Canal zone, his rise to fame began after playing real-life old west lawman Elfego Baca in a series of TV shows for Disney in 1958. Among his other roles during the following decade, he played the lead on NBC’s short-lived series T.H.E. Cat in the 1966-67 television season and he appeared on the CBS soap The Secret Storm as “Frank Carver.” He also had numerous guest appearances, including Overland Trail, The Untouchables, Combat!, Gunsmoke, The Big Valley, Rawhide, Little House on the Prairie, Starsky and Hutch, Charlie’s Angels, and The Rockford Files. In later years he also appeared on shows including Frasier, The Sopranos and Monk.
He also had a varied film career, particularly during the 1980s, appearing in Revenge of the Pink Panther, An Officer and a Gentleman, Psycho II, Prizzi’s Honor, Over The Top, Necessary Roughness, Return to Me, Armed and Dangerous, and Lost Highway, among many others. He received his only Oscar nomination, in the Best Supporting Actor category for his turn as private detective Sam Ransom in the thriller Jagged Edge.
Popular culture will likely remember him best for three crucial roles in the 1980s and 90s. Playing drug lord Frank Lopez in Brian De Palma’s brutal crime film Scarface, he mentors and then is betrayed by Al Pacino’s ruthless hothead Tony Montana. He delivered several of the film’s most iconic lines, including “don’t get high on your own supply”; the film was a particularly big influence on the development of hip hop, and that line has been frequently quoted by some of the genre’s biggest stars.
In 1988, he played Mr. MacMillan, the head of a major toy company where Tom Hanks’ adult-size child Josh Baskin finds work in Penny Marshall’s Big. Loggia and Hanks shared the screen for the film’s most famous scene, when the mogul and the minor play “Chopsticks” with their feet on a giant keyboard laid out on the floor of FAO Schwarz toy store on Fifth Avenue.
Loggia also appeared as General William Grey Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin’s blockbuster Sci-Fi action film Independence Day, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff who advises Bill Pullman’s President Whitmore after aliens lay waste to all of earth’s major cities.
Loggia was married to Marjorie Sloan from 1954 to 1981. He is survived by his wife Audrey O’Brien, whom he married in 1982, as well as three children and one stepdaughter.