Alex Rocco, Actor Known for Role in ‘The Godfather,’ Dies at 79

20 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Godfather’ actor Alex Rocco dies aged 79.

On the heels of his breakout role in “Pretty in Pink,” Jon Cryer landed his first sitcom — the inside-showbiz CBS comedy “The Famous Teddy Z” that co-starred Alex Rocco.

LOS ANGELES ( — Character actor Alex Rocco — who seemed to have the patent for tough-talking Italian guys in serious movies and funny TV comedies — has died.NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rocco, the Emmy-winning character actor best known for taking a bullet through the eye as the Las Vegas casino boss Moe Greene in “The Godfather,” has died. Rocco played stressed-out talent agent Al Floss, who clashed with the agency’s mailroom wunderkind Teddy Zakalokis, played by Cryer. “Teddy Z” only lasted one season in 1989-90 — its final five episodes never saw the light of day until Comedy Central ran the entire series in 1993.

Rocco’s career spanned more than five decades and he had nearly 170 credited parts including guest spots on 60’s TV shows like “Batman” and “Get Smart.” Other Rocco credits include “Freebie and the Bean,” “A Bug’s Life,” “The Simpsons” (he was the voice of Roger Meyers Jr., “Itchy and Scratchy”‘s studio boss), “Get Shorty,” and “The St. But Rocco earned an Emmy for his performance, and made a lifelong friend of Cryer. “I had seen a report of his passing on social media and spent the whole morning hoping it was some kind of mistake,” Cryer said. “If there was ever someone in your life you referred to as ‘just a teddy bear,’ Alex Rocco had them beat tenfold. Anyone who’s ever had him in their lives in any respect will know what I’m talking about.” “Teddy Z” was ahead of its time as a comedy in the vein of “Entourage” or “Episodes” that skewered showbiz with plenty of inside jokes per episode. His confrontation with Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone — in which he condescended to the new boss: “I made my bones when you were going out with cheerleaders!” — was among the movie’s many indelible scenes. “Without a doubt, my biggest ticket anywhere,” Rocco told the AV Club in 2012. “I went for. Cryer’s character of Teddy Zakalokis was a recently discharged Army vet who winds up working in the mailroom at Unlimited Talent Agency (the show aired a few years before there was a real-life UTA talent agency in Hollywood) in order to avoid the pressure to join his family’s bakery business.

In the 1970s, he appeared on such TV staples as “Kojak,” “The Rockford Files” and “Starsky and Hutch,” but it was as the corrupt Sin City mobster in Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic film where Mr. Variety’s review raised the question of whether “its reliance on inside showbiz gags will be nixed in the sticks.” The review praised the uniformly strong cast and described Rocco’s character as “a walking heart attack of an agent.” Cryer’s then-manager Martin Tudor milked the attention that the series generated in the industry by running a full-page ad in Variety. It featured a picture of Cryer in character under the headline “Now You Can Meet Hollywood’s Hottest New Agent Without Lunching at the Palm.” “Teddy Z” started its rocky run on CBS in the Monday 9:30 p.m. time slot, the same berth where Cryer would enjoy considerably more ratings success nearly 15 years later with the debut of “Two and a Half Men.”

I wouldn’t know how to play a Jew.’ And he goes, ‘Oh, shut up.’” The Boston-born Rocco also memorably voiced the cigar-smoking studio head of “Itchy and Scratchy” on “The Simpsons.” And he played Charlie Polniaczek on the 1980s sitcom “The Facts of Life.” Born on Feb. 29, 1936, as Alessandro Federico Petricone Jr. in Cambridge, Mass., Rocco studied acting under Leonard Nimoy on his arrival to Los Angeles. When Michael’s brother Fredo (John Cazale) attempts to get Michael to see things from Moe’s point of view, Michael famous retorts, “Don’t ever take sides against the family, Fredo. Ever.” In the film’s famous “murder montage,” which cuts back and forth between the baptism of Michael’s son Anthony with his agents dispatching the heads of New York’s Five Families as well as Michael’s other rivals, Moe Greene infamously meets his end while lying on a massage table. Looking up at the sound of someone entering the parlor, a gunshot is heard, and the right lens of his eyeglasses abruptly fills with blood — a gruesome on-screen death for the time.

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