Alex Rocco at the 1990 Annual Emmy Awards, September 16.
Alessandro Federico Petricone Jr.
February 29, 1936
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||July 18, 2015 (aged 79)|
Studio City, California, U.S.
(m. 19??; div. 19??)
Sandra Elaine Garrett
(m. 1966; died 2002)
Alessandro Federico Petricone Jr. (February 29, 1936 – July 18, 2015), known professionally as Alex Rocco, was an American actor. Often cast as a villain, he is best known for his portrayal of Moe Greene in The Godfather and his Primetime Emmy Award-winning role in The Famous Teddy Z. He did a significant amount of voice-over work later in his career, and was known for his gravelly voice.
Rocco was born as Alessandro Federico Petricone, Jr., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1936, but raised in nearby Somerville, the son of an Italian immigrant, Mary (née DiBiase; 1909–1978) and Alessandro Sam Petricone (1896–1949), a native of Gaeta, Italy.
According to organized crime turncoat Vincent Teresa, Rocco was a hanger-on with the Winter Hill Gang of the Boston area. An unwanted advance toward Petricone's then-girlfriend on Labor Day, 1961, touched off the Boston Irish Gang War of the 1960s. Georgie McLaughlin, who made the advance, was beaten by Winter Hill Gang members. Howie Carr, a Boston-area journalist and radio personality who has written extensively about the Boston underworld, has written that the young Petricone (whose nickname was "Bobo") was arrested in Charlestown in November 1961 along with Winter Hill boss Buddy McLean for questioning following the death of Bernie McLaughlin of the Charlestown Mob, the first murder of the war. Petricone was released without charge and moved to California in 1962. (When he returned to the Boston area in 1972 to play a bank robber in the film The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Petricone—now using the name "Alex Rocco"—set up a meeting between Robert Mitchum and local Irish-American gangsters to help Mitchum research his part as Eddie Coyle, a low-level Irish-American criminal. Rocco introduced Mitchum to Howie Winter, leader of the Winter Hill Gang. Another Winter Hill Gang member who met with Mitchum was Johnny Martorano, who had murdered Billy O'Brien, a low-level gangster.)
He first worked as a bartender in Santa Monica, California, and took acting lessons from actor Leonard Nimoy, a fellow Boston native. Nimoy was not impressed with Rocco's heavy Boston accent and told him to take speech lessons. Rocco followed through with Nimoy's instructions, and after ridding himself of the accent, came back to study under Nimoy and character actor and teacher Jeff Corey.
Rocco played the part of Moe Greene, a Las Vegas casino owner, in the film The Godfather. Greene's character represented the top Jewish mobster in Las Vegas; although he sought an Italian role, director Francis Ford Coppola remarked "I got my Jew!" on seeing Rocco. Other notable films in which Rocco appeared include The Wedding Planner, as Salvatore, and (uncredited) Smokin' Aces. In the film That Thing You Do!, Rocco played Sol Siler, the founder of Playtone Records.
In the fall of 1975, Rocco starred in the role of Pete Karras, a widowed father, writer, and photographer, in a 12-week CBS drama series Three for the Road, with Vincent Van Patten as his older son, John Karras, and Leif Garrett as his younger son, Endy Karras. After the death of their wife and mother, the Karrases sell their house, buy a recreational vehicle, and roam throughout the United States.
He played Charlie Polniaczek, Jo's father on The Facts of Life. In 1989, he played Gus Keller in the Corey Feldman and Corey Haim movie Dream a Little Dream. From 1989–90, Rocco was a regular on the television comedy series The Famous Teddy Z as Al Floss, a Hollywood talent agent. He received an Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for this role in 1990. In 1997, he appeared (along with Rodney Dangerfield) in the annual Thanksgiving episode of the ABC sitcom Home Improvement.
Rocco also had a recurring part in the long-running animated series The Simpsons as the head of Itchy and Scratchy Studios, Roger Meyers Jr. In DVD commentaries, Rocco expressed true gratitude to The Simpsons' staff for allowing him his first voiceover role. He did further voice work on two early episodes of another Fox sitcom, Family Guy. Rocco did a voiceover on the 1998 Disney/Pixar film A Bug's Life, deeming it his "greatest prize in life" as he was paid $1 million to record eight lines.
In 2008, he starred in Audi's Super Bowl commercial for the Audi R8 supercar. The commercial was inspired by The Godfather. He played a rich man who finds the front fascia of his luxury car in his bed, a nod to the scene from the original movie in which Jack Woltz, a rich movie producer, finds the head of his prized racehorse in his bed. He was also featured on the Starz cable channel's crime-drama series, Magic City.
Personal life and death
After moving to Los Angeles, Rocco became a member of the Baháʼí Faith, and he appeared in a number of productions related to the religion over the years. He also thanked Baháʼu'lláh in his Emmy Award acceptance speech.
His first marriage was to Grace Petricone, and they had one daughter, Maryann. After moving to California, he married Sandra Elaine Rocco (September 1, 1942 – June 12, 2002) on March 24, 1964. He adopted her son, Marc King, who became known as Marc Rocco (June 19, 1962 – May 1, 2009), a film producer, screenwriter, and director. The couple had two children, a daughter Jennifer and a son, Lucien, and one grandson.
|1967||The St. Valentine's Day Massacre||Diamond|
|1968||The Boston Strangler||Detective at Apartment of Victim #10||Uncredited|
|1972||The Godfather||Moe Greene|
|1973||The Outside Man||Miller|
|1973||Slither||Man with Ice Cream|
|1973||The Friends of Eddie Coyle||Jimmy Scalise|
|1973||Detroit 9000||Lieutenant Danny Bassett|
|1974||Three the Hard Way||Lt. Di Nisco|
|1974||Freebie and the Bean||D.A.|
|1975||Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins||Vinnie|
|1975||A Woman for All Men||Lt. Robert Di Biase|
|1975||Hearts of the West||Earl|
|1978||Rabbit Test||Sergeant Danny Bonhoff|
|1980||Herbie Goes Bananas||Quinn|
|1980||The Stunt Man||Police Chief Jake|
|1981||Nobody's Perfekt||The Boss|
|1982||The Entity||Jerry Anderson|
|1984||Cannonball Run II||Tony|
|1985||Badge of the Assassin||Detective Bill Butler NYPD|
|1987||P.K. and the Kid||Les|
|1987||Return to Horror High||Harry Sleerik|
|1987||Scenes from the Goldmine||Nathan DiAngelo|
|1988||Lady in White||Angelo "Al" Scarlatti|
|1989||Dream a Little Dream||Gus Keller|
|1991||The Pope Must Die||Cardinal Rocco|
|1992||Boris and Natasha: The Movie||Sheldon Kaufman|
|1995||The Flight of the Dove||Bartender|
|1995||Get Shorty||Jimmy Cap||Uncredited|
|1996||That Thing You Do!||Sol Siler|
|1996||Dead of Night||Bukowski|
|1997||Just Write||Mr. McMurphy|
|1998||Goodbye Lover||Detective Crowley|
|1998||A Bug's Life||Thorny||Voice|
|1999||Dudley Do-Right||Kumquat Chief|
|2000||The Last Producer||Poker Player #6|
|2001||The Wedding Planner||Salvatore Fiore|
|2001||Face to Face||Phil|
|2002||The Country Bears||Rip Holland|
|2003||The Job||Vernon Cray|
|2006||Find Me Guilty||Nick Calabrese|
|2009||Ready or Not||Don Julio|
|2010||Now Here||Mr. Martin|
|2011||Batman: Year One||Carmine Falcone||Voice|
|2011||And They're Off||Saul Youngerman|
|2012||The House Across the Street||Mr. Barnes|
|2017||Don't Sleep||Mr. Marino||Final film role|
|1967||Batman||Block||Episodes: "A Piece of Action" and "Batman's Satisfaction"|
|1970||That Girl||Biff||1 episode|
|1972||The F.B.I.||Matt Wilnor||1 episode|
|1972||Cannon||Hit Man||Episode: "Hear No Evil"|
|1973||Cannon||Walter Koether||Episode: "Target in the Mirror"|
|1973||Circle of Fear||Joseph Moretti||1 episode|
|1974||The Rookies||Earl Fisher||1 episode|
|1975||Cannon||Paul||Episode: "Search and Destroy"|
|1975||Three for the Road||Pete Karras||14 episodes|
|1977||Police Story||Investigator Phil Logan||Episode: "Nightmare on a Sunday Morning"|
|1977||Barnaby Jones||Harry Stroop||1 episode|
|1977||The Rockford Files||Sherman Royle||2 episodes|
|1977||Starsky & Hutch||Thomas Callendar||2 episodes|
|1977||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||Ben Selwyn||Episode: Lou's Army Reunion|
|1978||The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank||Ralph Corliss||Television film|
|1981–1988||The Facts of Life||Charlie Polniaczek||11 episodes|
|1980||CHiPs||Ansgar||Episodes: "The Great 5K Star Race and Boulder Wrap Party": Part 1 and Part 2|
|1982||The First Time||Jay||Television film|
|1983||The Best of Times||Gene Falcone||Television pilot|
|1984||St. Elsewhere||Roger||Episode: "Breathless"|
|1985||The Golden Girls||Glen O'Brien||Episode: "That Was No Lady"|
|1985||The A-Team||Sonny Monroe||Episode: "Champ!"|
|1986||Murder, She Wrote||Bert Yardley||Episode: "Christopher Bundy – Died on Sunday"|
|1987||Rags to Riches||Michael Rapp||1 episode|
|1987||Hotel||Phil Johnson||Episode: "Desperate Moves"|
|1987||Hunter||Floyd Benson||Episode: "Hot Prowl"|
|1989||Murphy Brown||Al Floss||1 episode|
|1989–1990||The Famous Teddy Z||Al Floss||Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Comedy Series|
|1990||The Simpsons||Roger Meyers Jr.||Voice|
|1991–1992||Sibs||Howie Ruscio||23 episodes|
|1994||The George Carlin Show||Harry Rossetti||11 episodes|
|1995||Can't Hurry Love||Michael O'Donnell||Episode: "Daddy's Girl"|
|1996||Pinky and the Brain||Floyd Nesbit||Voice|
|1996||Mad About You||Mark Slotkin||Episode: "Outbreak"|
|1996||The Simpsons||Roger Meyers Jr.||Voice|
Episode: "The Day the Violence Died"
|1997||Early Edition||Barney Kadison||Episode: "Home"|
|1997||Home Improvement||Irv Schmayman||Episode: "Thanksgiving"|
|1997||The Simpsons||Roger Meyers Jr.||Voice|
Episode: "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show"
|1998||Michael Hayes||Bernero||1 episode|
|1999||Family Law||Goodman||1 episode|
|1999||Family Guy||Soccer Mom||Voice|
Episode: "Mind Over Murder"
|1999||Sabrina the Teenage Witch||TV Executive||Episode: "Sabrina's Real World"|
|2000||Walker, Texas Ranger||Johnny "Giovanni Rossini" Rose||Episode: "Wedding Bells"|
|2001||Family Guy||Bea Arthur||Voice|
Episode: "Ready, Willing and Disabled"
|2001–2004||The Division||John Exstead Sr.||14 episodes|
|2005||ER||Martin Trudeau||Episode: "Two Ships"|
|2007||The Wedding Bells||Larry Herschfield||Episode: "The Fantasy"|
|2010||Party Down||Howard Greengold||Episode: "Constance Carmel Wedding"|
|2012||Magic City||Arthur Evans||4 episodes|
|2012||Private Practice||Ed||Episode: "Aftershock"|
|2014–2015||Episodes||Dick LeBlanc||2 episodes|
|2015||Maron||David Rosen||Episode: "Stroke of Luck"|
- Mike Barnes. "Alex Rocco Dead: 'Godfather' Actor Was 79". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
- Obituary, cbsnews.com; accessed July 20, 2015.
- Ancestry. "Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798–1950". Retrieved October 8, 2018.
- Ancestry. "U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007". Retrieved October 8, 2018.
- "Alex Rocco profile at". FilmReference.com.
- Chozick, Amy (March 30, 2012). "Old Miami Beach: Sun, Schmaltz, Murder". The New York Times.
- Teresa, Vincent. "My Life in the Mafia."
- Carr, Howie. "Alexander (Bobo) Petricone". BostonHitman.com. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
- Kimball, George. "Looking Back At An Unlikely Acquaintance With Whitey Bulger". WBUR. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- Carr, Howie. "George V. Higgins' Eddie Coyle: Even Better than True". CriminalElement.com. Archived from the original on May 5, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
- "Three for the Road". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
- Steve Hall. "Audi's Godfather Ad Powerful, Stellar, Captivating". adrants.com. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
- "Alex Rocco profile at". Fandango.com. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
- Marilyn Beck (September 11, 1975). "Actor Alex Rocco says he's indebted to Bahai teachings". The San Bernardino County Sun. San Bernardino, California. p. 39. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
- Alex Rocco (1970s). Introduction to the Baha'i Faith featuring Alex Rocco (Video). National Spiritual Assembly of the Baháʼís of the United States.
- Doug Cameron, Alex Rocco (1980s). Mona with the Children (Music video).
- Devon Grundy, Alex Rocco, Eva La Rue… (2009). Armed (Music video). Justin Baldoni.
- Alex Rocco (September 16, 1990). Alex Rocco Emmy acceptance speech (video). emmys.com.
- "RootsWeb: Database Index". ancestry.com. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
- McLellan, Dennis (May 29, 2009). "Marc Rocco dies at 46; filmmaker directed 'Where the Day Takes You'". Los Angeles Times.
- Obituary for Sandra Rocco Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, uga.edu; accessed July 20, 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alex Rocco.|