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JOSEPH BOLOGNA (December 30, 1934 – August 13, 2017) was an American actor, playwright and screenwriter notable for his roles in Made for each other with his talented woman of his life RENEE TAYLOR the comedy films My Favorite Year, Blame It on Rio and Transylvania 6-5000,and many more!
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.
Their play, Lovers and Other Strangers, was produced on Broadway in 1968. It featured four stories covering assorted scenarios, from preparations for an initial seduction to a groom having second thoughts on the eve of his wedding. The show, which starred Taylor, ran for months and the 1970 film version, featuring the screen debut of Diane Keaton, was a hit.
Bologna also had a successful writing career with his wife, the actor Renée Taylor, that spanned almost their entire life together. They married in 1965 – the ceremony was broadcast by The Merv Griffin Show, on which Taylor had been a recurring guest – and later had at least five wedding renewal ceremonies filmed for various outlets including Entertainment Tonight. Unsurprisingly, it was marriage, described by Bologna as “a fight to maintain separateness while staying together”,
With Dalai Lama
Their life together continued to inform their writing, with later film collaborations including It Had to Be You (1989), which began life as a play, and Love Is All There Is (1996), which they wrote, directed and starred in, and in which Angelina Jolie made an early appearance. Their other plays included the 1996 comedy Bermuda Avenue Triangle, which Variety said “moves at the pace of a marathon bingo game”, and If You Ever Leave Me … I’m Going With You!
He and his wife Renée Taylor had a son Gabriel Bologna. Gabriel became an actor, writer and director, and directed his father in his last film, “Tango Shalom”.
Taylor and Bologna starred together on stage and on television. Bologna played a love interest for his wife in the episode “Maternal Affairs” of the sitcom The Nanny in the sixth and final season, in which Taylor plays Sylvia, the 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.
He was the tyrannical comedian King Kaiser, modelled on Sid Caesar, in the nostalgic comedy My Favourite Year (1982), starring Peter O’Toole as an alcoholic former matinee idol. He played one of Gene Wilder’s drinking buddies in The Woman in Red and a man whose teenage daughter (Michelle Johnson) is having an affair with his best friend (Michael Caine) in Blame It on Rio (both 1984). In Big Daddy (1999), he was Adam Sandler’s disapproving father; initially unimpressed when his son adopts a child (“He’d be better off living in a dumpster than living with you!”), he undergoes a change of heart in the courtroom climax.
Bologna’s aunt Pauline chastised him for starring in Blame It on Rio (starring Michael Caine), which contained some nudity; Bologna remarked “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 (which starred Peter O’Toole in the role of drunken movie star modeled after Errol Flynn)In 1987, Bologna starred in the TV musical sitcom Rags to Riches as Nick Foley, a millionaire mogul turned adoptive father.He played the mad scientist Dr. Malavaqua in the 1985 comedy Transylvania 6-5000.From 1996 to 1998, he was the voice of 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. After Bologna appeared in numerous roles on TV and in motion pictures, including roles on Funny or Die
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 to recognize his efforts to save the Motion Picture Home and Hospital in 2012
I had the honor to play in Tango Shalom ,directed from talented Gabriel Bologna and the script wrote by Joseph Bologna and Laniado’s bros. Renee Taylor,Laine Kazan and a brilliant cast,the film producer is Joel Zwick(My Greek fat wedding producer) Music supervisor Zizi Bologna! The film received till now 30 globally awards ,Globally!!!Distributor of the successful film is the Vision.
Working with MrJoseph and lady Renee Taylor I was learning so much about comedy. I am so lucky!
I m happy because my friendship with Zizi,she is my “sister”,and the hall Bologna family gave me deep love, and I really love them all more than even my real family!!!
God bless them
Much love to BOLOGNA FAMILY
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