An actor who had the looks of a quinessential movie tough guy — but couldn’t resist playing sensitive male characters — has died. The New York Times reports that Joseph Bologna died Sunday in Duarte in Southern California. He was 82.
“His death, at the City of Hope Hospital, was confirmed by his publicist, Dick Guttman. Mr. Bologna learned he had pancreatic cancer three years ago,” The Times reports.
Bologna’s sensitive side, as a man who longed for love and commitment, was on display in “Lovers and Other Strangers,” “Made for Each Other” and other films. And for all his tough guy looks, he had some of his most memorable roles in comedies, including “My Favorite Year” and “Transylvania 6-5000.”
“Mr. Bologna’s fame, like his onscreen persona, had its roots on the Broadway stage,” The Times notes. “He was 34 when ‘Lovers and Other Strangers,’ four short plays about couples of various ages and situations that he wrote with his wife, Renée Taylor, opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theater. Clive Barnes of The New York Times praised it as a ‘sprightly quartet of revue-style playlets,’ written with ‘compassion, insight and irony.’”
The report notes that the production, in which Taylor starred, ran just two months, but the couple sold the film rights.
“’Lovers and Other Strangers’ the movie (1970) was a box-office hit, earning roughly three times its production cost in North America alone and garnering the couple a shared Oscar nomination (with a co-writer, David Zelag Goodman) for best adapted screenplay,” The Times adds.
Bologna also made an impact on TV, including starring in the musical sitcom “Rags to Riches” in the 1980s. He won a Primetime Emmy along with Taylor for Outstanding Writing for “Acts of Love and Other Comedies” in 1973.
In his later years he did guest spots on TV series including “CSI,” “According to Jim” and “Everwood.”
Here’s a clip from the 1982 movie “My Favorite Year,” in which Bologna plays Stan “King” Kaiser in a sendup of Sid Caesar …