Joseph Bologna

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Joseph Bologna
Joseph Bologna 1974.JPG
Bologna in 1974
Born(1934-12-30)December 30, 1934
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedAugust 13, 2017(2017-08-13) (aged 82)
Alma materBrown University
Years active1970–2012
Renée Taylor (m. 1965)

Joseph Bologna (December 30, 1934 – August 13, 2017) was an American actor, playwright and screenwriter notable for his roles in the comedy films My Favorite Year, Blame It on Rio and Transylvania 6-5000.

Life and career[edit]

Bologna was born in Brooklyn, New York to an Italian-American family, he attended St. Rose of Lima school as did Mary Tyler Moore,[1] he attended Brown University, where he majored in art history. Bologna served a tour of duty with the United States Marine Corps. Bologna was hired to produce and direct Manhattan-based TV commercials.

Bologna enjoyed a long run in film and television, his breakthrough film Lovers and Other Strangers adapted with his wife Renée Taylor from a play they co-wrote, was based on the true-life circumstances of organizing a wedding on short notice with the involvement of his Italian extended family and her Jewish clan. Several relatives performed as extras in the final cut; the couple shared an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. A year later, in 1971, the couple again collaborated to write and perform in the movie Made for Each Other.

Bologna stayed close with his old-neighborhood aunts and uncles after becoming successful. Two of them were slightly famous on their own: His Uncle Pat was Blacky the Bootblack, whom Joseph Kennedy credited as his main influence when he sold all of his stock holdings in the summer of 1929 (the market crashed in October), and his aunt Pauline was one of the best-known celebrity chefs, working for Jackie Gleason, Burt Reynolds and many other luminaries.

Bologna's aunt Pauline chastised him for starring in the nudity-containing Blame It on Rio, starring Michael Caine. Bologna replied, "Blame it on me. It's the last time I invite Aunt Pauline to a film premiere." In 1976, he starred in the television drama What Now, Catherine Curtis? with Lucille Ball. Other film roles for Bologna include playing the brother of James Caan's widowed protagonist in Neil Simon's 1979 romance Chapter Two; portraying the Sid Caesar-based character King Kaiser in the 1982 comedy hit My Favorite Year, starring Peter O'Toole as drunken movie star Alan Swann, modeled after Errol Flynn; and as Lenny Koufax, the frustrated father of perpetual slacker Sonny Koufax (Adam Sandler) in the 1999 comedy Big Daddy.

In 1987, Bologna starred in the TV musical sitcom Rags to Riches as the millionaire mogul turned adoptive father, Nick Foley; the show aired for two seasons.

He played the mad scientist Dr. Malavaqua in the 1985 comedy Transylvania 6-5000.

From 1996 to 1998, he voice-acted the character Inspector Dan Turpin, a hot-headed police officer modeled after Jack Kirby, in several episodes of Superman: The Animated Series.

In 2006, he became the voice of Mr. Start in Ice Age: The Meltdown.

He and wife Renée Taylor had two children, son Gabriel and daughter Zizi.[2] Gabriel became quite a successful actor, writer and director, and Zizi worked in the music production department for films.[3] Taylor and Bologna also starred together on stage and on television. Bologna played a love interest for his real-life wife in the "Maternal Affairs" episode of the sitcom The Nanny in the sixth and final season in which Taylor plays Sylvia, the already-married mother of Fran Drescher's character, he also appeared in the first-season episode "The Gym Teacher" as a famous actor for whom Maxwell Sheffield once interned.

From 2012 until before his death in 2017, Bologna appeared in numerous roles on TV and in motion pictures, including roles on NCIS, Funny or Die, stage productions and national commercials.

In 2017, Bologna received the Night of 100 Stars Oscar Gala Lifetime Achievement Award from actor comedian Richard Lewis and his peers to celebrate his 60-year career and for his efforts to help save the Motion Picture Home and Hospital in 2012.


Bologna died Sunday morning of August 13, 2017 at City of Hope in Duarte, California from pancreatic cancer,[4][5] he died at age 82, just two days after the couple celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary, with survivors including wife Renee, son Gabriel Bologna and daughter Zizi Bologna.



  1. ^ "Joseph Bologna, Actor and Playwright Known for 'My Favorite Year,' Dies at 82".
  2. ^ "Joseph Bologna obituary". August 15, 2017. Retrieved 2018-01-01.
  3. ^ "Joseph Bologna, Star of 'My Favorite Year,' Dies at 82". Retrieved 2018-01-01.
  4. ^ Gates, Anita (August 14, 2017). "Joseph Bologna, Onscreen Tough Guy with a Sense of Humor, Dies at 82". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Barnes, Mike (August 13, 2017). "Joseph Bologna, 'My Favorite Year' Actor and Oscar-Nominated Screenwriter, Dies at 82". The Hollywood Reporter. ISSN 0018-3660.

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