Movies

Remembering Robert Loggia, A Gruff Character Veteran With An Odd Resume

Robert Loggia passed away on Friday at the age of 85 after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease, but he’s not soon to be forgotten. Loggia was a long featured supporting actor over the years, gaining prominence in the 70s and 80s thanks to roles in films like Big and Scarface. But his career stretches much further back, beginning in 1951 through a variety of television and film appearances and concluding in 2012 following his diagnosis. He also gained some awards notoriety as reported by Variety, including an Academy Award nomination in 1986 for Jagged Edge:

Loggia’s most notable film credits included “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Prizzi’s Honor,” “Independence Day,” David Lynch’s “Lost Highway” and “Big,” in which he played a toy company owner and performed a memorable duet on a giant foot-operated piano with Tom Hanks. He played Miami drug lord Frank Lopez in “Scarface.”

Loggia was nominated for an Emmy in 1989 for his portrayal of FBI agent Nick Mancuso in the series “Mancuso FBI” — which has a spin-off of the character he created in the “Favorite Son” miniseries starring Harry Hamlin — and again in 2000 for his guest star role in “Malcolm in the Middle.”

But as we pay tribute to Loggia, it feels like the proper time to look back at the roles that make him worthy of your memories. He’s provided plenty of moments over the years, from the fun to the strange.

Big

The piano scene from Big with Tom Hanks is likely where most people saw Loggia, so it’s hard not to include it in some sort of mini-retrospective. But in terms of his other body of work, it should be lower on the list.

Scarface

He doesn’t do much other than introduce Tony Montana to the world of cocaine and attempt to have him killed, but Loggia has one of the more memorable death scenes in the film (most of the folks connected to him do, actually). Here we see Tony giving his “every dog has its day” speech after (spoiler) having Frank shot and killed. It’s memorable for a few reasons, mainly because of how easily Frank is wiped away from the film and the door flies open for Tony at that point. Also the begging is a top notch performance from Loggia, going from indignant at first to pleading by the end.

Over The Top

Ridiculous movies call for ridiculous actors at times. This movie is so ridiculous, it calls for a whole crew of them. Loggia plays the only normal member of the bunch, busting out as the rich, scheming Jason Cutler in opposition to Sylvestor Stallone’s Lincoln Hawk. As the base level, it makes sense that a rich grandfather would want to keep his grandson away from the “no good” son-in-law. Then you toss in the arm wrestling, the intensely buff truckers, the back room showdowns, and the big rig bribery to end up with a whole batch of crazy. It’s entertaining to watch, though.

Independence Day

Is there a scene that has been lampooned on South Park more than the morse code conclusion here? “Tell them how to take these sons of b*tches down” is only one of many lines that Loggia growled throughout this film, but it is certainly the best one. Better yet, he’s essentially playing dad to the president throughout the entire movie. And look at this face:

How could you ever think we were going to lose against those alien bastards?

Lost Highway

Worth it for this scene alone where Loggia decides to take care of someone riding his bumper by running them off the road and them confronting them with a pistol. It’s a classic, not to mention that it comes from the mind of David Lynch. Also funny that Bill Pullman is back in this film too. Guy used to get a lot of work in the mid-90s.

Innocent Blood

Mobster vampires terrorize the neighborhood in this John Landis’ attempt at bringing the magic of An American Werewolf In London to the bloodsucker genre. It doesn’t really work, but it has some shining moments with Loggia’s aging mobster vampire. He even takes a bite out of Don Rickles, which is always worth a look.

The Great Fight

Vince covered this one in more detail, but it’s a later career film for Loggia where he ends up helping to train an Autistic fighter. Here is all you need to read:

And that’s when it happens. ROBERT F*CKING LOGGIA. This movie stars Robert Loggia, who growls his Robert Loggia growl at an autistic MMA prodigy in order to toughen him up. Game over. The Great Fight could go down as the best movie in history.

Minute Maid Commercial

Then we come to what is likely the oddest commercial to ever hit TV. Robert Loggia is just out there selling Minute Maid on TV, to a kid who apparently knows who Robert Loggia is and will listen to his aging, growling wisdom. I don’t get it, but I don’t want to get it either. It’s fine as something that exists.

Family Guy

And the final one isn’t really Robert Loggia at all, but it could’ve easily been if the show had asked and had the money (don’t give me facts and truth, I want possibilities). In it, we see Peter Griffin attempting to catch a flight and getting caught behind one Robert Loggia. Simple, weird, and pretty funny.

Rest in peace, sir. You’ve given us much over the years.

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