Actor and Playwright Joseph Bologna Has Died

Bologna authored the Broadway plays ”Lovers and Other Strangers”, ”It Had to Be You”, and ”If You Ever Leave Me…I’m Going With You!”

Actor and writer Joseph Bologna has died.
Actor and writer Joseph Bologna has died.
(© Joseph Marzullo)

Joseph Bologna, a writer, director, and performer of stage and screen, died yesterday at a California hospital due to pancreatic cancer. He was 82.

Bologna is best known for his work as a film actor, which included roles in the comedies My Favorite Year and Transylvania 6-5000. Born in Brooklyn, Bologna attended Brown University and served in the Marine Corps before entering the film industry. His notable works as a writer and director include Lovers and Other Strangers, written with his wife Renée Taylor, who became a frequent collaborator. The two went on to star together in their cowritten film Made for Each Other, Woman of the Year, and more.

Bologna made his Broadway debut in 1968 with a stage version of Lovers and Other Strangers, in which he and Taylor also starred. The pair returned in 1981 to star in their original comedy It Had to Be You and again in 2001 with If You Ever Leave Me…I'm Going With You!, which they also directed. In total, the couple cowrote more than 20 plays.

Most recently, Bologna voiced the character of Mr. Start, a palaeotherium, in Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006), alongside Taylor as Mrs. Start and in an epsode of CSI (2010). His final project was to be Tango Shalom, a film directed by his son and also starring Taylor.

Bologna is survived by Taylor as well as the couple's children.