×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Joseph Bologna, Actor and Playwright Known for ‘My Favorite Year,’ Dies at 82

Joseph Bologna, an actor, writer, and director known for his role in 1982’s “My Favorite Year” and for his long collaboration on stage and screen with wife Renée Taylor, has died after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 82.

Bologna died Sunday morning at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif. Just last month, Bologna attended a 35th anniversary screening of “My Favorite Year” in Los Angeles. Bologna played the explosive TV star King Kaiser in the backstage comedy inspired by Mel Brooks’ experiences as a young TV writer on Sid Caesar’s legendary “Your Show of Shows.”

Taylor said Bologna had “a beautiful life and a beautiful death.” Bologna died just two days after the couple celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary.

Bologna and Taylor co-wrote and starred in the Broadway show “Lovers and Others Strangers” in 1968. The pair then earned Oscar nominations for their screenplay adaptation for the 1970 film starring Gig Young and Bea Arthur. Taylor and Bologna also won a Writers Guild Award for their 1971 movie “Made For Each Other,” in which they also starred.

In all, the couple co-wrote some 22 plays and collaborated on numerous film and TV projects, including the Marlo Thomas TV special “Acts of Love and Other Comedies,” and such series as CBS’ “Calucci’s Department,” HBO’s “Bedrooms,” and PBS’ “American Dream Machine.”

Bologna and Taylor were introduced by their mutual manager, Buddy Allen. The couple’s wedding was held on the stage of “The Merv Griffin Show” and featured on the talk show. Taylor noted that they renewed their vows five times over their half-century together, each time in a different religious ceremony.

A native of Brooklyn, Bologna grew up in a working-class Italian-American family and went on to serve in the Marine Corps. He then entered the advertising business in the “Mad Men” era. He directed numerous commercials before turning his focus to the stage with Taylor.

Bologna’s other film credits include 1976’s “Woman of the Year,” 1984’s “Blame It on Rio” and “The Woman in Red,” 1985’s “Transylvania 6-5000,” and 1989’s “It Had to Be You.” More recently, he lent his voice to 2006’s “Ice Age: The Meltdown.”

Bologna also logged dozens of TV credits over the years, from telepics to sitcoms to dramas. Among the notable made-fors were the 1986 miniseries “Sins” and 1983’s “One Cooks, the Other Doesn’t.” Bologna appeared opposite future “Friends” star Matt LeBlanc in the 1991 “Married With Children” spinoff “Top of the Heap” and also in the 1987-88 dramedy “Rags to Riches.” His last TV roles included guest shots on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “According to Jim,” and “Everwood.”

Bologna’s final project was the upcoming film “Tango Shalom,” a comedy directed by his son, Gabriel. The elder Bologna co-wrote the screenplay with Claudio and Jos Laniado and stars alongside Taylor. The couple’s daughter, Zizi, served as music supervisor.

A memorial will be held in his honor on Sept. 9 at 11 a.m. at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills.

More TV

  • Bob GreenblattCreating Great Characters: Dick Wolf

    Bob Greenblatt on WarnerMedia Streaming Strategy: 'The Assets are Undeniable'

    CANNES — AT&T is ready for battle in the streaming wars. The new parent company of HBO and Warner Bros. has moved quickly to respond to consumer demand by marshaling its forces behind the launch next spring of HBO Max, WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told a crowd of international TV and digital executives here [...]

  • Roberto Gomez Bolanos Mexican actor Roberto

    Chespirito Media Universe in Development from Grupo Chespirito, Thr3 Media Group

    Mexican production companies Grupo Chespirito and Thr3 Media Group have come to terms on a deal to co-produce multi-media content and create the Chespirito Media Universe based on the characters and world of Mexico and Latin America’s most iconic TV creator, director, producer and actor, Chespirito. Thr3 Media Group was launched in January 2018 by [...]

  • Bastian-and-Fabienne_2btube-Office-1

    2btube Adds Lacoproductora to Facebook, YouTube Originals Alliances

    CANNES —  Fast-driving from a huge digital media publishing base into the creation and production of premium content for global platforms and beyond, top Spanish-language digital native media group 2btube has clinched a wide-ranging production partnership with José Miguel Contreras’ Madrid-based Lacoproductora. The deal comes fast on the heels of 2btube’s production alliance with Facebook [...]

  • LA-CHICA-QUE-LIMPIA-PICTURE

    Spain's Fasten Films Nabs Remake Rights to Argentine Series 'The Cleaning Lady' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Barcelona-based company Fasten Films has optioned Spanish and Portuguese adaptation rights to Argentine suspense series “La chica que limpia” (“The Cleaning Lady”). The deal was negotiated with Argentine distributors RM Vistar and GlowStar, who jointly handle the format’s international sales. A Mexican remake of the series is being produced by Turner Latin America, alongside BTF [...]

  • Motiv: Max ConzeFoto: © ProSiebenSat.1/Martin SaumweberDieses

    ProSiebenSat.1 Boss Max Conze Unfazed By the Invasion of the Digital Streaming Giants

    Max Conze, CEO of German broadcast company ProSiebenSat.1 since June last year, appeared relatively relaxed about the prospect of the coming invasion of new subscription streaming players like Disney Plus into his territory when speaking to journalists at TV market and conference Mipcom in Cannes Tuesday. “Disney will not lock away all their content,” he [...]

  • Irmaos Freitas

    Amazon Prime Video takes Turner’s ‘Freitas Brothers’

    CANNES — In yet another – and significant – Latin America distribution deal for the now highly active OTT giant, Amazon Prime Video has acquired Brazilian and pan-Spanish-speaking Latin American SVOD rights to Turner Latin America’s highly anticipated “Freitas Brothers.” The announcement was made late Tuesday by Turner Latin America at Cannes Mipcom TV and [...]

  • Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, Cory Booker,

    Nonsense Ellen DeGeneres Question Derails an Otherwise Substantive Democratic Debate (Column)

    The fourth Democratic debate was dangerously close to being substantive. For almost three (3!) hours, the twelve (12!) candidates onstage tackled questions on foreign policy, reproductive rights, health care, gun control, big tech, and the opioid crisis. While the other debates — and indeed, the entire 2016 presidential campaign — have been marked by meme-able [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content