Lon Chaney was immortalized in a 1957 film as the “Man of a Thousand Faces.” Robert Sacchi could capitalize on only one: his conspicuous resemblance to Humphrey Bogart. He played it for all it was worth.
That similitude projected him into a circumscribed but lucrative career that included the title role in the 1980 film “The Man With Bogart’s Face” and the part of Bogie himself in touring theatrical companies of Woody Allen’s comedy “Play It Again, Sam.”
Mr. Sacchi died on June 23 in a hospital in Sherman Oaks, Calif., his daughter, Trish Sacchi Bertisch said. He was 89.
As early as the 1940s, the decade of “The Maltese Falcon,” “Casablanca” and “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” when Mr. Sacchi (pronounced SACK-ee) was attending Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, friends and neighbors noticed that he was a ringer for Bogart.
Still, it would take more than two decades for him to receive notice as the irreverent, snarling and brusque actor’s look-alike — beginning in the early 1970s on the road in “Play It Again, Sam,” the story of a man who gets romantic advice from an imaginary Bogart, and later as the title character in “The Man With Bogart’s Face,” a comedy about a private eye named Sam Marlow (his first and last names were shared with detectives Bogart had played) who undergoes plastic surgery to look like Bogart.
Adapted from Andrew J. Fenady’s 1977 book of the same name, the movie also featured several performers, including Yvonne De Carlo, Mike Mazurki and George Raft (in his final film), who years earlier had co-starred with Bogart himself.
Reviewing “The Man With Bogart’s Face” (also known as “Sam Marlow, Private Eye”) in The New York Times, Tom Buckley wrote that Mr. Sacchi, “who has been doing a Bogart look-alike turn on college campuses, shows considerable acting skill in the title role, although his hopes for future employment in films would seem to be limited.”
He managed nonetheless to find employment as Bogart: in a one-man show called “Bogey’s Back,” in television commercials, in a Phil Collins music video and in a voice-over for an episode of the HBO horror anthology series “Tales From the Crypt” in 1995.
Robert Patsy Sacchi was born on March 27, 1932, in Rome and immigrated with his parents, Marietta (D’Urbano) Sacchi and Alberto Sacchi, to New York when he was a baby. His father was a carpenter.
After graduating from high school, he earned a degree in business and finance from Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., and a master’s degree from New York University.
In addition to his daughter Ms. Bertisch, he is survived by his wife, Angela de Hererra; a son, the producer John Sacchi; six children from an earlier marriage, Robert Sacchi Jr., Barbara Cohen, Felicia Carroll, Maria Tolstonog, Lisa Osborne and Anthony Sacchi; his brother, Mario Sacchi; and three grandchildren.
He had some success in parts not related to Bogart, including roles in three 1972 films: “The French Sex Murders,” “Pulp” and “Across 110th Street.” He had some non-acting success as well: In the 1980s, he recorded a rap single, “Jungle Queen,” that was a hit in Germany and worked on a book with the boxer Willie Pep about slum children who grew up to achieve fame in the ring.
Yet he would remain best known for how he looked. His 5-foot-8 frame, brooding eyes, furrowed brow and craggy face cried out for a famous movie line to be rewritten as “Here’s lookin’ at me, kid.”
He accepted that it was his face that gained him attention. But as a teenager at least, he would have chosen a different one.
“I mean, I never thought Bogie was too terrific-looking,” Mr. Sacchi once said. “Like most kids at the time, I wanted to look like Gregory Peck.”
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