Alessandro Federico Petricone Jr.
February 29, 1936
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||July 18, 2015 (aged 79)|
Studio City, California, U.S.
|Other names||Alexander F. Petricone|
(m. 19??; div. 19??)
Sandra Elaine Garrett
(m. 1964; died 2002)
Alex Rocco (born Alessandro Federico Petricone Jr.; February 29, 1936 – July 18, 2015) was an American actor. Known for his distinctive, gravelly voice, he was often cast as villains, including Moe Greene in The Godfather (1972) and his Primetime Emmy Award–winning role in The Famous Teddy Z. Rocco did a significant amount of voice-over work later in his career.
Rocco was born as Alessandro Federico Petricone, Jr., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1936, and 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. Rocco served in the California Army National Guard during the Korean War.
Criminal activity and arrests
In January 1960, Petricone was one of 28 persons indicted by a Middlesex County grand jury in a gambling case, and in September 1961, he was arrested along with James McLean and others on charges related to an assault on the owner of a diner in Somerville, and the wrecking of his establishment, the previous August.
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.
Rocco, then known as Alexander F. Petricone, was arrested in Charlestown on October 31, 1961, along with McLean on suspicion of murder following the death of Bernie McLaughlin of the Charlestown Mob, the first murder of the war. He was working as a bartender at the time.
A witness claimed that Petricone was the driver of the getaway car, and he and McLean were formally charged in the slaying on November 1, 1961. Petricone and McLean were released after a grand jury found a lack of evidence, but both served a prison term for the diner wrecking. In 1962, while in prison, his wife's car was bombed. Police believed the bomb was intended for Howie Winter, head of the Winter Hill Gang, who had driven the car to her earlier.
After completing his prison term for the diner assault, Petricone and his wife divorced and he moved to California. He later recounted, "I had to get out of Boston, so I flipped a coin and said 'Heads, Miami, tails, California'." He began taking acting lessons from actor Leonard Nimoy, a fellow Boston native. Nimoy worked with him to eliminate his heavy Boston accent and had him take speech lessons. Rocco followed through with Nimoy's instructions, and started working in the film industry, adopting the name "Alex Rocco" after seeing the "Rocco" on a bakery truck.
In 1972, Rocco played the part of Moe Greene, a Las Vegas casino owner, in Coppola's 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. The same year, Rocco returned to the Boston area to play a bank robber in the film The Friends of Eddie Coyle. He 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.
In the fall of 1975, Rocco starred as Pete Karras in Three for the Road. In the long-running, 1980s TV series The Facts of Life, Rocco played Charlie Polniaczek, Jo's father. In 1989, he played Gus Keller in the Corey Feldman and Corey Haim movie Dream a Little Dream. In the period 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 1995, Rocco appeared as Jimmy Cap, a tough Miami mob boss, in the John Travolta mob comedy, Get Shorty. In 1997, he appeared, along with Rodney Dangerfield and others, in the annual Thanksgiving episode of the ABC sitcom Home Improvement.
In the 1996 film That Thing You Do!, Rocco had a cameo part as Sol Siler, the founder of Playtone Records, a performance that was rated by The Observer's critic as his "favorite [part] in the movie." Rocco appeared as Salvatore in the 2001 film The Wedding Planner, and (uncredited) in the action thriller Smokin' Aces.
Rocco had a recurring voiceover part in the long-running animated series The Simpsons as the head of Itchy and Scratchy Studios, Roger Meyers Jr. In the 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 the Fox hit sitcom, Family Guy and on the 1998 Disney/Pixar film A Bug's Life. He deemed the latter to have been his "greatest prize in life," since he was paid $1 million to record eight lines.
In 2008, Rocco starred in the 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. His last role was in the 2010s BBC2 TV series Episodes, playing the "curmudgeonly" father of Matt LeBlanc's character.
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, the Prophet Founder of the Baháʼí Faith 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. Sandra Rocco died of cancer, aged 59.
Rocco married Shannon Wilcox, on October 15, 2005.
|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|
|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|
|2016||Silver Skies||Frank||Posthumous release|
|2017||Don't Sleep||Mr. Marino||Posthumous release; 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||Kojak||Tony Crucio||Episode: "Knockover" Original air date 11/14/1973|
|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"|
|1984||Steambath||Tom Devon||Episode: "Madison Avenue Madness"|
|1985||Murder, She Wrote||Ernie Santini||Episode: "Tough Guys Don't Die"|
|1985||The Golden Girls||Glen O'Brien||Episode: "That Was No Lady"|
|1985||The A-Team||Sonny Monroe||Episode: "Champ!"|
|1985||Badge of the Assassin||Detective Bill Butler NYPD||Television film|
|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|
|1990–1997||The Simpsons||Roger Meyers Jr.||Voice|
|1991–1992||Sibs||Howie Ruscio||23 episodes|
|1993||Love, Honor & Obey: The Last Mafia Marriage||Uncle Frank||TV movie|
|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"|
|1997||Early Edition||Barney Kadison||Episode: "Home"|
|1997||Home Improvement||Irv Schmayman||Episode: "Thanksgiving"|
|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"|
|1999||Just Shoot Me!||Charlie Gold||Episode: "Shaking Private Trainer"|
|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"|
- Barnes, Mike (July 19, 2015). "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". Ancestry.com. 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.
- Rocco, Alex 1936- PERSONAL Encyclopedia.com Retrieved March 26, 2022.
- "28 Indicted in Somerville Gaming Case". The Boston Globe. September 12, 1961. p. 20. Retrieved January 29, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- "MDC Official Pleads Innocent of Assault". The Boston Globe. September 12, 1961. p. 20. Retrieved January 29, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Charge 2 in Enforcer's Slaying". The Boston Globe. November 2, 1961. p. 1. Retrieved January 29, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- Teresa, Vincent. "My Life in the Mafia."
- "Charlestown Slaying Puts Added Pressure on Police Department". The Boston Globe. November 1, 1961. p. 1. Retrieved January 29, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Grand Jury Rules Evidence Lacking in Oct. 13 Slaying". The Boston Globe. December 7, 1961. p. 31. Retrieved January 29, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Police Seek Motive For Bombing of Auto". The Boston Globe. September 5, 1962. p. 3. Retrieved January 29, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- Marquard, Bryan (July 21, 2015). "Alex Rocco; Left Somerville gang, rebuilt life as noted character actor". The Boston Globe. pp. B8. Retrieved January 29, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- Kimball, George. "Looking Back At An Unlikely Acquaintance With Whitey Bulger". WBUR. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. 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 Database. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
- "Home Improvement: Season 7". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
- Rosen, Christopher (February 10, 2008). "Single Person's Movie: That Thing You Do!". The Observer. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
- Hall, Steve. "Audi's Godfather Ad Powerful, Stellar, Captivating". adrants.com. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
- "Alex Rocco profile at". Fandango.com. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
- "Godfather actor Alex Rocco dies at 79". BBC. July 20, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
- Beck, Marilyn (September 11, 1975). "Actor Alex Rocco says he's indebted to Bahai teachings". The San Bernardino 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. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021.
- 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.