The Godfather Actor Alex Rocco Dies at 79

20 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘The Godfather’ actor Alex Rocco dead at 79.

In this Sept. 16, 1990 file photo, Alex Rocco holds up his Emmy award for best supporting actor in a television comedy series for his role in The Famous Teddy Z. (Nick Ut/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.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 (CBSLA.com) — Character actor Alex Rocco — who seemed to have the patent for tough-talking Italian guys in serious movies and funny TV comedies — 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. Rocco had fairly limited screen time in “The Godfather” (1972), but he emerged from that film with a collection of signature lines, including “You don’t buy me out. 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.

I buy you out” and “Do you know who I am?” (both spoken to the Godfather-in-waiting, played by Al Pacino), and a Hollywood reputation for stealing scenes with little more than a Boston attitude and his eyebrows. 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. 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.”‘ 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. Nimoy helped rid Rocco of his thick Boston accent, and the actor would forever after find consistent work — from Pixar’s A Bug’s Life to Family Guy — for his singular voice. He often told journalists that he worked in his youth for gangsters in the Winter Hill neighborhood of nearby Somerville, but an early stay at the Middlesex House of Correction in Billerica, Mass., turned him against a life of crime. Valentine’s Day Massacre,” “The Boston Strangler,” “Wild Riders” and “Blood Mania.” Television viewers knew him best as the rough-edged father of Nancy McKeon’s character, the blue-collar student at a fancy girls’ school, on the long-running NBC series “The Facts of Life” in the 1980s.

She survives him, as do a son, Lucien; a daughter, Jennifer Rocco; a stepson, Sean Doyle; a stepdaughter, the actress Kelli Williams; a sister, Vivian De Simone; and four grandchildren. Another son, the director Marc Rocco, died in 2009. “I don’t mean you have to be overbearing, but you have to stay on top of things — read the trades, know what’s going on in the town,” he told the website comicbookmovie.com in 2011. “I call it ‘dare to be stupid.’ The worst thing they can say is, ‘We got nothing for you.’ So I’ve hustled a lot.”

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