Alex Rocco

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Alex Rocco
Alex Rocco at the 1990 Annual Emmy Awards.jpg
Rocco at the 1990 Annual Emmy Awards, September 16
Born Alessandro Federico Petricone, Jr.
(1936-02-29)February 29, 1936
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died July 18, 2015(2015-07-18) (aged 79)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Cancer
Occupation Actor
Years active 1965–2015
Spouse(s) Grace Petricone (19??-19??; divorced)
Sandra Elaine Garrett (1966–2002; her death)
Shannon Wilcox (2005–2015; his death)
Children 4

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. He did a significant amount of voiceover work later in his career, and was known for his gravelly voice.[1]

Early life[edit]

Rocco was born as Alessandro Federico Petricone, Jr.[2] in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1936, but raised in nearby Somerville, the son of Italian immigrants, Mary (née DiBiase; 1909–1978) and Alessandro Sam Petricone (1896-19??).[3][4]

According to organized crime turncoat Vincent Teresa, Alex 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.[5] 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 McLaughlin gang, the first murder of the war.[6] Petricone was released without charge, and shortly thereafter left the Boston area. (When he returned to the Boston area in 1972 to play a bank robber in the film The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Petricone — now styled "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.[7] Another Winter Hill Gang member who met with Mitchum was Johnny Martorano, who had murdered Billy O'Brien, a low-level gangster.[8])

After his arrest, Petricone moved to California in 1962 and began using the name Alex Rocco. 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.[citation needed]


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.[1] Other notable films in which Rocco appeared include The Wedding Planner, as Salvatore and appeared uncredited in Smokin' Aces. In the film That Thing You Do!, Rocco played Sol Siler, the founder of Playtone Records.[citation needed]

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.[9]

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.[citation needed]

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 voice-over 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.[1]

In 2008, he starred in Audi's Super Bowl commercial for the Audi R8 supercar. The commercial was inspired by one of the films Rocco was in: 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.[10] He most recently was one of the stars of the Starz cable channel's crime-drama series, Magic City.[11]

Personal life[edit]

After moving to Los Angeles, Rocco became a member of the Bahá'í Faith,[12] and he appeared in a number of productions related to the religion over the years.[13][14][15] He also thanked Bahá'u'lláh in his Emmy Award acceptance speech.[16]

His first marriage was to Grace Petricone, and they have one daughter, Maryann. After moving to California, he married Sandra Elaine Rocco (September 1, 1942 – June 12, 2002)[17] 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.[18] The couple had two children, a daughter Jennifer and a son, Lucien, and one grandson.

Sandra Rocco died of cancer, aged 59. Rocco remarried, to Shannon Wilcox on October 15, 2005.[19]

Alex Rocco died on July 18, 2015 from cancer in Studio City, Los Angeles, at the age of 79.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1965 Motorpsycho Cory Maddox
1967 St. Valentine's Day Massacre, TheThe St. Valentine's Day Massacre Diamond
1968 Boston Strangler, TheThe Boston Strangler Detective at Apartment of Victim #10 Uncredited
1970 Blood Mania Lawyer
1971 Wild Riders Stick
1971 Brute Corps Wicks
1972 Godfather, TheThe Godfather Moe Greene
1972 Stanley Thomkins
1973 The Outside Man Miller
1973 Bonnie's Kids Eddy
1973 Slither Man with Ice Cream
1973 Friends of Eddie Coyle, TheThe Friends of Eddie Coyle Jimmy Scalise
1973 Detroit 9000 Danny Bassett
1974 Three the Hard Way Lt. Di Nisco
1974 Freebie and the Bean D.A.
1975 A Woman for All Men Lt. Biase
1975 Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins Vinnie
1975 Hearts of the West Earl
1977 Fire Sale Al
1978 Rabbit Test Sergeant Danny Bonhoff
1979 Voices Frank Rothman
1980 Herbie Goes Bananas Quinn
1980 Stunt Man, TheThe Stunt Man Police Chief Jake
1981 Entity, TheThe Entity Jerry Anderson
1984 Cannonball Run II Tony
1985 Stick Firestone
1985 Gotcha! Al
1985 Badge of the Assassin Detective Bill Butler NYPD
1987 Return to Horror High Harry Sleerik
1987 P.K. and the Kid Les
1987 Scenes from the Goldmine
1988 Lady in White Angelo "Al" Scarlatti
1989 Dream a Little Dream Gus Keller
1989 Wired Arnie Fromson
1991 Pope Must Die, TheThe Pope Must Die Cardinal Rocco
1992 Boris and Natasha: The Movie Sheldon Kaufman
1995 Get Shorty Jimmy Cap Uncredited
1996 That Thing You Do! Sol Siler
1997 Just Write Mr. McMurphy
1998 A Bug's Life Thorny Voice
1998 Goodbye Lover Detective Crowley
1999 Dudley Do-Right Kumquat Chief
2000 Last Producer, TheThe Last Producer Poker Player
2001 Wedding Planner, TheThe Wedding Planner Salvatore Fiore
2002 Country Bears, TheThe Country Bears Rip Holland
2003 Job, TheThe Job Vernon Cray
2006 Find Me Guilty Nick Calabrese
2007 Smokin' Aces Serna
2011 Batman: Year One Carmine Falcone Voice
2014 Scammerhead Ben Sarnus


Year Title Role Notes
1967 Batman Block Episodes: "A Piece of Action" and "Batman's Satisfaction"
1970 That Girl Biff 1 episode
1972 F.B.I., TheThe F.B.I. Matt Wilnor 1 episode
1972 Cannon Hit Man Season 2, Episode 11 - Hear No Evil
1973 Cannon Walter Koether Season 3, Episode 5 - Target in the Mirror
1973 Circle of Fear Joseph Moretti 1 episode
1974 Rookies, TheThe Rookies Earl Fisher 1 episode
1975 Cannon Paul Season 4, Episode 24 - Search and Destroy
1975 Three for the Road Pete Karras 14 episodes
1977 Barnaby Jones Harry Stroop 1 episode
1977 Starsky & Hutch Thomas Callendar 2 episodes
1977 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Ben Sylver 1 episode: "Lou's Army Reunion" on YouTube
1978 Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank, TheThe Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank Ralph Corliss telefilm with Carol Burnett
1981–1988 Facts of Life, TheThe Facts of Life Charlie Polniaczek Jo's father
1980 CHiPs Ansgar Episodes: "The Great 5K Star Race and Boulder Wrap Party": Part 1 and Part 2
1984 St. Elsewhere Roger Episode: "Breathless"
1985 Golden Girls, TheThe Golden Girls Glen O'Brien Episode: "That Was No Lady"
1985 A-Team, TheThe A-Team Sonny Monroe Episode: "Champ!"
1987 Rags to Riches Michael Rapp 1 episode
1989 Murphy Brown Al Floss 1 episode
1989–1990 Famous Teddy Z, TheThe Famous Teddy Z Al Floss Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor - Comedy Series
1990 Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons Roger Meyers, Jr. Episode: "Itchy & Scratchy & Marge"
1991–1992 Sibs Howie Ruscio 23 episodes
1994 George Carlin Show, TheThe 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 Episode: "Fly"
1996 Mad About You Mark Slotkin Episode: "Outbreak"
1996 Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons Roger Meyers, Jr. Episode: "The Day the Violence Died"
1997 Early Edition Barney Kadison Episode: "Home"
1997 Home Improvement Irv Schmayman 1 episode
1997 Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons Roger Meyers, Jr. Episode: "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show"
1998 Michael Hayes Bernero 1 episode
1999 Family Law Goodman 1 episode
1999 Family Guy Soccer Mom Episode: "Mind Over Murder"
2000 Walker, Texas Ranger Johnny "Giovanni Rossini" Rose Episodes: "Wedding Bells"
2001 Family Guy Bea Arthur Voice
Episode: "Ready, Willing and Disabled"
2001–2004 Division, TheThe Division John Exstead Sr. 14 episodes
2005 ER Martin Trudeau Episode: "Two Ships"
2007 Wedding Bells, TheThe 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: "Aftershocks"
2014 Episodes Dick LeBlanc 2 episodes
2015 Maron David Rosen Episode: "Stroke of Luck"


  1. ^ a b c d Mike Barnes. "Alex Rocco Dead: 'Godfather' Actor Was 79". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  2. ^ Obituary,; accessed July 20, 2015.
  3. ^ "Alex Rocco profile at". 
  4. ^ Chozick, Amy (March 30, 2012). "Old Miami Beach: Sun, Schmaltz, Murder". New York Times. 
  5. ^ Teresa, Vincent. "My Life in the Mafia."
  6. ^ Carr, Howie. "Alexander (Bobo) Petricone". Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Kimball, George. "Looking Back At An Unlikely Acquaintance With Whitey Bulger". WBUR. Retrieved September 2, 2011. 
  8. ^ Carr, Howie. "George V. Higgins’ Eddie Coyle: Even Better than True". Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "Three for the Road". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved March 16, 2011. 
  10. ^ Steve Hall. "Audi's Godfather Ad Powerful, Stellar, Captivating". Retrieved July 19, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Alex Rocco profile at". Retrieved July 19, 2015. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ Alex Rocco (1970s). Introduction to the Baha'i Faith featuring Alex Rocco (Video). National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States. 
  14. ^ Doug Cameron, Alex Rocco (1980s). Mona with the Children (Music video). 
  15. ^ Devon Grundy, Alex Rocco, Eva La Rue… (2009). Armed (Music video). Justin Baldoni. 
  16. ^ Alex Rocco (September 16, 1990). Alex Rocco Emmy acceptance speech (video). 
  17. ^ "RootsWeb: Database Index". Retrieved July 19, 2015. 
  18. ^ McLellan, Dennis (May 29, 2009). "Marc Rocco dies at 46; filmmaker directed 'Where the Day Takes You'". Los Angeles Times. 
  19. ^ Obituary for Sandra Rocco,; accessed July 20, 2015.

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