Alex Rocco
Rocco in 1990
Alessandro Federico Petricone Jr.

(1936-02-29)February 29, 1936
DiedJuly 18, 2015(2015-07-18) (aged 79)
Other namesAlexander F. Petricone
Years active1965–2015
  • Grace Petricone
  • (m. 19??; div. 19??)
Sandra Elaine Garrett
(m. 1964; died 2002)

(m. 2005)

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.[1]

Early life

Rocco was born as Alessandro Federico Petricone, Jr.,[2] in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1936, and raised in nearby Somerville, the son of an Italian immigrant,[3] Mary (née DiBiase; 1909–1978) and Alessandro Sam Petricone (1896–1949),[4] a native of Gaeta, Italy.[5][6] Rocco served in the California Army National Guard during the Korean War.[7]

Criminal activity and arrests

In January 1960, Petricone was one of 28 persons indicted by a Middlesex County grand jury in a gambling case,[8] 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.[9][10]

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 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.[11]

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.[12]

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.[10] Petricone and McLean were released after a grand jury found a lack of evidence,[13] 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.[14]

Acting career

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.[15]

His first film role was in Russ Meyer's Motorpsycho! in 1965.[15]

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.[1] 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.[16] Another Winter Hill Gang member who met with Mitchum was Johnny Martorano, who had murdered Billy O'Brien, a low-level gangster.[17]

In the fall of 1975, Rocco starred as Pete Karras in Three for the Road.[18] 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 Capp, a 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.[19]

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."[20] 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.[1]

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.[21] He was also featured on the Starz cable channel's crime-drama series, Magic City.[22] His last role was in the 2010s BBC2 TV series Episodes, playing the "curmudgeonly" father of Matt LeBlanc's character.[23]

Personal life

After moving to Los Angeles, Rocco became a member of the Baháʼí Faith,[24] and he appeared in a number of productions related to the religion over the years.[25][26][27] He also thanked Baháʼu'lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Baháʼí Faith in his Emmy Award acceptance speech.[28]

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)[29] 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.[30] 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.[31]

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



Year Title Role Notes
1965 Motorpsycho Cory Maddox
1967 The St. Valentine's Day Massacre Diamond
1968 The Boston Strangler Detective at Apartment of Victim #10 Uncredited
1970 Blood Mania Lawyer
1971 Wild Riders Stick
1971 Brute Corps Wicks
1972 The Godfather Moe Greene
1972 Stanley Richard Thomkins
1973 Bonnie's Kids Eddy
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
1977 Fire Sale Al
1978 Rabbit Test Sergeant Danny Bonhoff
1979 Voices Frank Rothman
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 Stick Firestone
1985 Gotcha! Al
1985 Stiffs Pasquale
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
1989 Wired Arnie Fromson
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
2005 Crazylove Uncle Cort
2006 Find Me Guilty Nick Calabrese
2006 Jam Mick
2006 Smokin' Aces Serna
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
2014 Scammerhead Ben Sarnus
2016 Silver Skies Frank Posthumous release
2017 Don't Sleep Mr. Marino Posthumous release; Final film role


Year Title Role Notes
1967 Batman Block Episodes: "A Piece of Action" and "Batman's Satisfaction"
1970 That Girl Biff 1 episode
1971 Mission:Impossible Tanner Episode: "Blues"
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 Hustling Swifty TV film
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
3 episodes
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
Episode: "Fly"
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"


  1. ^ a b c d Barnes, Mike (July 19, 2015). "Alex Rocco Dead: 'Godfather' Actor Was 79". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  2. ^ Obituary,; accessed July 20, 2015.
  3. ^ Ancestry. "Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798–1950". Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  4. ^ Ancestry. "U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007". Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  5. ^ "Alex Rocco profile at".
  6. ^ Chozick, Amy (March 30, 2012). "Old Miami Beach: Sun, Schmaltz, Murder". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Rocco, Alex 1936- PERSONAL Retrieved March 26, 2022.
  8. ^ "28 Indicted in Somerville Gaming Case". The Boston Globe. September 12, 1961. p. 20. Retrieved January 29, 2022 – via
  9. ^ "MDC Official Pleads Innocent of Assault". The Boston Globe. September 12, 1961. p. 20. Retrieved January 29, 2022 – via
  10. ^ a b "Charge 2 in Enforcer's Slaying". The Boston Globe. November 2, 1961. p. 1. Retrieved January 29, 2022 – via
  11. ^ Teresa, Vincent. "My Life in the Mafia."
  12. ^ "Charlestown Slaying Puts Added Pressure on Police Department". The Boston Globe. November 1, 1961. p. 1. Retrieved January 29, 2022 – via
  13. ^ "Grand Jury Rules Evidence Lacking in Oct. 13 Slaying". The Boston Globe. December 7, 1961. p. 31. Retrieved January 29, 2022 – via
  14. ^ "Police Seek Motive For Bombing of Auto". The Boston Globe. September 5, 1962. p. 3. Retrieved January 29, 2022 – via
  15. ^ a b 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
  16. ^ Kimball, George. "Looking Back At An Unlikely Acquaintance With Whitey Bulger". WBUR. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  17. ^ Carr, Howie. "George V. Higgins' Eddie Coyle: Even Better than True". Archived from the original on May 5, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  18. ^ "Three for the Road". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
  19. ^ "Home Improvement: Season 7". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  20. ^ Rosen, Christopher (February 10, 2008). "Single Person's Movie: That Thing You Do!". The Observer. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  21. ^ Hall, Steve. "Audi's Godfather Ad Powerful, Stellar, Captivating". Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  22. ^ "Alex Rocco profile at". Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  23. ^ "Godfather actor Alex Rocco dies at 79". BBC. July 20, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Doug Cameron, Alex Rocco (1980s). Mona with the Children (Music video).
  27. ^ Devon Grundy, Alex Rocco, Eva La Rue… (2009). Armed (Music video). Justin Baldoni.
  28. ^ Alex Rocco (September 16, 1990). Alex Rocco Emmy acceptance speech (video).
  29. ^ "RootsWeb: Database Index". Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  30. ^ McLellan, Dennis (May 29, 2009). "Marc Rocco dies at 46; filmmaker directed 'Where the Day Takes You'". Los Angeles Times.
  31. ^ Obituary for Sandra Rocco Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine,; accessed July 20, 2015.