Popular character actor Val Bisoglio passed away October 18, 2021, at the age of 95 at his beloved mountain home near Los Olivos, CA. Born Italo Valentino Bisoglio on May 7, 1926, in New York City, he was proud of his Piemontese roots. His parents, Mario Bisoglio and Virginia Gallina Bisoglio, immigrated to the United States in 1920-21 from towns near Monferrato, Alessandria, Italy.
He began acting as therapy to help treat severe migraines. His first acting coach was Jeff Corey. He loved the stage and was drawn to the work, lives and language of modern and contemporary playwrights, including August Strindberg, Eugene O’Neill, Harold Pinter, plus the Theatre of the Absurd.
Val appeared on the New York stage in Kiss Mama, A View from the Bridge and Wait Until Dark. He was also on stage in New York City’s Shakespeare in the Park with Arthur Penn.
He starred in a multitude of television shows during the 1960’s-1980’s. His best- known roles were as Sgt. Sal Pernelli, the cook on M*A*S*H, and Danny Tovo, the restaurateur in Quincy, M.E. His final television role was as Murf in The Sopranos in 2002.
Favorite among his family is his performance as Chief Gray Cloud in The Frisco Kid. He is perhaps best known for playing Frank, Sr., John Travolta’s father, in Saturday Night Fever.
A non-acting pursuit for which he was proud was participation in the Mobilization for Youth pilot project of the Kennedy Administration. This anti-poverty program trained teenage dropouts to be employable.
Val is survived by his sons Joseph Valentino Bisoglio and wife Devon, Sgt. Scott Chapman and wife Andrea, and by Casey DeFranco. And, by his wife of 25 years, Bonnie B. Ray Bisoglio and brothers-in-law E. Scott Ray and wife Kerry, Gaylord W. Ray, M.D., and wife Cindy, Will R. Ray and J. Enos Ray and his wife Julie.
Charitable gifts in Val’s memory may be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund (mptf.com), 23388 Mulholland Drive, Woodland Hills, CA 91364, to the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature (wildlingmuseum.org), 1511-B Mission Drive, Solvang, CA 93463 or to the charity of your choice.