Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Alex Rocco, 'Godfather' Actor, Dies

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Alex Rocco, 'Godfather' Actor, Dies

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES - Alex Rocco, a veteran character actor who secured a place in movie history playing the doomed mobster Moe Greene in "The Godfather, died Saturday at his Studio City home. He was 79. The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his stepson, Sean Doyle.

Rocco's prolific 50-year career included voicing the role of jaded cartoon mogul Roger Meyers Jr. in "The Simpsons animated series and his 1990 Emmy-winning portrayal of a smarmy talent agent in the short-lived sitcom "The Famous Teddy Z.

Most fans, however, knew Rocco in the role of a cop, gangster or other tough guy, an identity cemented by his work in Part I of Francis Ford Coppola's epic about the fictional Corleone crime family.

Based on infamous mobster Bugsy Siegel, Greene is the Las Vegas casino owner whose partnership with the Corleones ends badly: He is murdered with a shot through the eye during a stomach-churning slew of revenge killings at the end of the film.

In a memorable scene before Greene's violent death, Michael Corleone, the heir to his family's crime syndicate played by Al Pacino, tells the gaming kingpin that his family wants to buy him out.

Michael: I leave for New York tomorrow, think about a price.

Moe Greene: Do you know who I am? I'm Moe Greene! I made my bones when you were going out with cheerleaders!

Playing Greene was "my biggest ticket anywhere, Rocco said in a recent interview on the entertainment website avclub.com.

"I had no idea what Moe Greene was gonna do for me, Rocco said in the interview. "There was an off-Broadway play, Who Shot Moe Greene?' There was a Moe Greene's Bakery. Alec Baldwin did Moe Greene on Saturday Night Live.' Billy Crystal opened up the Academy Awards once, saying, I just ran into Moe Greene outside.' It just doesn't die down.

Rocco was born Alessandro Federico Petricone in Cambridge, Mass., on Feb. 29, 1936. A ninth-grade dropout, he worked as a bookie in Boston and described himself as a "degenerate gambler. I'd bet on anything, he once told the Los Angeles Times, "and I'd lose. …

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