Sad news for film fans. After six decades as one of Hollywood's hardest working character actors, The Godfather actor Alex Rocco died Saturday, July 18, at the age of 79. Rocco's daughter Jennifer revealed her father's passing on Facebook. A cause of death was not released.
Even though Rocco wasn't a household name, you probably know who he was. Most famously, he played the shady casino owner Moe Greene in The Godfather, the man who uttered that now unforgettable line, "Do you know who I am?" and who later took a gunshot wound to the eye during the Baptism massacre scene.
Rocco did so much more than The Godfather, though. He has nearly 200 TV and film credits to his name and what you recognize him from likely depends on which era you are from. Everyone knows Moe Greene, but with his thick eyebrows and even thicker Boston accent, Rocco was hard to miss. He embodied every character to the fullest no matter how small or large the role. In the '60s, he was just starting out as a thug on the Batman TV series and in sensational cult film Motorpsycho!, and in the '70s, he took on the role of Moe as well as guest starred in TV classics like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Kojak, and The Rockford Files. By the '80s, he had a major recurring role as Jo's father on The Facts of Life.
In 1990, Rocco earned an Emmy for his role in the short-lived Hollywood comedy The Life of Teddy Z, and from there he went on to voice an ant in A Bug's Life, a move that he told The AV Club proved to be one of his most lucrative jobs, despite the small part. More recently, the actor popped up in Party Down, Maron, Magic City (where he played Jeffrey Dean Morgan's father), and Episodes (where he played Matt LeBlanc's father).
Beyond Moe Greene, Rocco's most famous role may very well be the voice work he did for The Simpsons. He played Roger Meyers Jr., owner of The Itchy and Scratchy show. Whether you know him as the man who voiced the guy that created Bart and Lisa's favorite cartoon, the man in the pink suit in the Tom Hanks directed That Thing You Do!, or simply as the mobster who wanted to make sure Michael Corleone knew who he was dealing with, Rocco's contribution to Hollywood is immeasurable. An ever-working actor, he also had a project in post-production set to come out in 2016, a horror movie called The Other.
The ultimate "that guy," Rocco was an old school actor who trained with Leonard Nimoy and worked with the likes of Peter O'Toole, Sidney Lumet, and Tom Hanks. He may not be remembered as one of the giants of Hollywood, but his decades of creative work will never be forgotten. Rocco was a consummate character actor: a man who made even the smallest role unforgettable. His presence onscreen and off will truly be missed.