Hollywood is in mourning this week after the death of Joseph Bologna, an actor, writer, and director known for his role in 1982’s “My Favorite Year.” He was 82 years-old.
Variety reported that Bologna died on Sunday after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. His death was confirmed by his wife Renée Taylor, who said that he had “a beautiful life and a beautiful death.” He died just two days after celebrating his 52nd wedding anniversary.
Bologna and Taylor were known for collaborating together, cowriting and starring in the Broadway show “Lovers and Others Strangers” in 1968 before earning Oscar nominations for their screenplay adaptation for the 1970 film starring Gig Young and Bea Arthur. The couple wrote 22 plays together 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’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.” His final movie role was in the upcoming “Tango Shalom,” a comedy directed by his son, Gabriel.
When asked about the secret to his enduring marriage and professional collaboration with Taylor, Bologna often pointed out the ways in which they were opposites, far beyond their religious upbringings. (She was Jewish. He was Roman Catholic.)
“I was a hedonist, and she was a sufferer,” he told The Boston Globe good-naturedly in 1984. “I taught her pleasure, and she taught me to suffer.”
When asked how he felt about working with his wife so often, Bologna declared the arrangement “very practical.”
“I can have an affair with my director, writer and co-star at the same time,” he said. “That saves a lot of wear and tear at my age.”
Rest in peace, Joseph Bologna!