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Joseph Bologna (1934 - 2017)

Getty / George Rose

Joseph Bologna (1934 - 2017)

Joseph Bologna, the Oscar-nominated veteran film and television actor known best for playing tough guys with a sly sense of humor, died Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, at the City of Hope Hospital’s Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, California, according to multiple news sources. He was 82.

Bologna had pancreatic cancer, a diagnosis he received three years ago.

His wife and longtime collaborator, Renee Taylor, who survives him, said her husband had “a beautiful life and a beautiful death.” The couple had celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary just two days earlier.


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Bologna was born Dec. 30, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Brown University as an art history major before serving his country as a member of the U.S. Marines.

Bologna and his wife wrote 1970’s “Lovers and Other Strangers” along with David Zelag Goodman. The three received an Academy Award nomination for best adapted screenplay. Two years earlier, Bologna and his wife had penned the work for a Broadway production that was directed by Charles Grodin. The play concerns a hastily arranged wedding involving Bologna’s Italian clan and Taylor’s Jewish relatives.

In 1971, the couple performed together in “Made for Each Other,” which they also wrote.

Bologna had more than four dozen film and TV credits during his 60-year career. He played Victor Lyons, a supporting role in 1984’s “Blame It on Rio” starring Michael Caine. He also was in the 1982 comedy “My Favorite Year,” which starred Peter O'Toole, and the 1999 comedy “Big Daddy” starring the comedian Adam Sandler.

His television credits include roles on “The Nanny,” “L.A. Law,” “Everwood,” “The Chris Isaak Show,” “Caroline in the City,” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

In 2017, Bologna received an award for lifetime achievement during the “Night of 100 Stars” Oscar gala.

Bologna is survived by his wife, Renee Taylor; their son, Gabriel Bologna; and their daughter, Zizi Bologna.

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