Alexander Federico Petricone (February 29, 1936 – July 18, 2015), known professionally as Alex Rocco, was an American actor. His roles ranged from comedy to playing gangsters in Mafia movies, notably Moe Greene in The Godfather.
Rocco was born as Alexander Federico Petricone in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1936, but raised in nearby Somerville, the son of Mary (née DiBiase; October 1909- August 1978) and Alessandro Sam Petricone. He was of Italian descent.
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 Warof 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 McLaughlin gang, the first murder of the war. 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. Another Winter Hill Gang member who met with Mitchum was Johnny Martorano. Ironically, Martorano had murdered Billy O’Brien, a low-level gangster who may have been the prototype of the Eddie Coyle character.)
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.
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. Other notable movies in which Rocco has appeared include The Wedding Planner, as Salvatore and appeared uncredited in Smokin’ Aces. He also played a small part in the Disney/Pixar film, A Bug’s Life as Thorny. 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, withVincent 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. 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 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 voice-over role. He parlayed that into a first-season episode of Family Guy titled “Mind Over Murder“, in which he had the memorable role of “the masculine woman”.
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.
After moving to Los Angeles, Rocco became a member of the Bahá’í Faith. He married Sandra Elaine Rocco (September 1, 1942 – June 12, 2002) on March 24, 1964. He adopted her son, director Marc Rocco (June 19, 1962 – May 1, 2009). They had a daughter Jennifer, lawyer, producer, writer, son Lucien, and a grandson Anthony Dominic Rocco, mother Jennifer. Sandra died of cancer, aged 59. Rocco later met and then married Shannon Wilcox on October 15, 2005.
|1965||Motorpsycho||Cory Maddox||Alternative titles: Motor Mods and Rockers andRio Vengeance|
|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 Friends of Eddie Coyle||Jimmy Scalise|
|1973||Slither||Man with Ice Cream|
|1973||Detroit 9000||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||Hearts of the West||Earl|
|1978||Rabbit Test||Sergeant Danny Bonhoff|
|1980||Herbie Goes Bananas||Quinn|
|1980||The Stunt Man||Police Chief Jake|
|1981||The Entity||Jerry Anderson|
|1984||Cannonball Run II||Tony|
|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||Alternative title: The Mystery of the Lady in White|
|1989||Dream a Little Dream||Gus Keller|
|1991||The Pope Must Die||Cardinal Rocco||Alternative title: The Pope Must Die(t)|
|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||The Last Producer||Poker Player||Alternative title: The Final Hit|
|2001||The Wedding Planner||Salvatore Fiore|
|2002||The Country Bears||Rip Holland|
|2003||The Job||Vernon Cray|
|2006||Find Me Guilty||Nick Calabrese||Alternative title: Find Me Guilty: The Jackie Dee Story|
|2011||Batman: Year One||Carmine Falcone||Voice|
|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||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||The 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” onYouTube|
|1978||The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank||Ralph Corliss||telefilm with Carol Burnett|
|1981–88||The 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||The Golden Girls||Glen O’Brien||Episode: “That Was No Lady“|
|1985||The A-Team||Sonny Monroe||Episode: “Champ!“|
|1987||Rags to Riches||Michael Rapp||1 episode|
|1989||Murphy Brown||Al Floss||1 episode|
|1989–90||The Famous Teddy Z||Al Floss||Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Comedy Series|
|1990||The Simpsons||Roger Meyers, Jr.||Episode: “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge“|
|1991–92||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||Episode: “Fly”|
|1996||Mad About You||Mark Slotkin||Episode: “Outbreak“|
|1996||The 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||The 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“: Part 1 and Part 2|
|2001||Family Guy||Bea Arthur portraying Peter Griffin||Episode: “Ready, Willing and Disabled“|
|2001–04||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||Season 1: 4 episodes so far|
|2012||Private Practice||Ed||Season 6: episode 1, “Aftershocks”|
|2014||Episodes||Dick LeBlanc||Season 3: Episode 8 and Season 4: Episode 6|
|2015||Maron||David Rosen||Season 3: Episode 1, “Stroke of Luck”|
- “Alex Rocco Biography (1936-)”. FilmReference.com.
- Chozick, Amy (March 30, 2012). “Old Miami Beach: Sun, Schmaltz, Murder”.New York Times.
- Teresa, Vincent. “My Life in the Mafia.”
- Carr, Howie. “Alexander (Bobo) Petricone”. BostonHitman.com. Retrieved13 April 2012.
- Kimball, George. “Looking Back At An Unlikely Acquaintance With Whitey Bulger”. WBUR. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
- Carr, Howie. “George V. Higgins’ Eddie Coyle: Even Better than True”. CriminalElement.com. Retrieved 13 April 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 19 July 2015.
- “Alex Rocco – Fandango”. Fandango. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- “‘Flatliners’ Producer Directing ‘The Other’ -“. bloody-disgusting.com. Retrieved19 July 2015.
- “RootsWeb: Database Index”. ancestry.com. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- McLellan, Dennis (May 29, 2009). “Marc Rocco dies at 46; filmmaker directed ‘Where the Day Takes You'”. Los Angeles Times.
- Obituary Sandie Rocco Copyright Coastal View (Carpinteria Valley, CA, USA) 2002
- Mike Barnes. “Alex Rocco Dead: ‘Godfather’ Actor Was 79”. The Hollywood Reporter.