Alex Rocco has died aged 79. The American actor, best known for playing casino boss Moe Greene in The Godfather, had suffered from cancer and passed away on Saturday afternoon at his home in Studio City, his family have confirmed.
Born Alexander Federico Petricone Jr. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Rocco moved to California in the early 1960s to work as a bartender and was mentored by fellow Massachusetts native Leonard Nimoy shortly after his arrival. “I wouldn’t spend five bucks to see Leonard in a film, but he was one of the greatest coaches I’ve ever had,” Rocco later said.
His first role came in 1965 film Motor Psycho but it was his part in The Godfather six years later which he described in 2012 as “without a doubt, my biggest ticket anywhere”. His character Moe Greene may have met a sticky end courtesy of mafia boss Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) but Rocco got to utter the famous line: “Don’t you know who I am? I’m Moe Greene!”
It was a quote that never left him. He later revealed: “People on the golf course will say, ‘Hey, Alex, would you call my dad and leave a line from The Godfather?'”
Rocco went on to appear in The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Get Shorty, Magic City, and won an Emmy for his role in as Hollywood agent Al Floss in 1990s sitcom The Famous Teddy Z. His voice can also be heard in The Simpsons as Roger Meyers Jr. – the studio boss behind Itchy and Scratchy – and most recently he played Matt LeBlanc’s father in BBC2 comedy Episodes.
LeBlanc’s Episodes co-star Stephen Mangan took to Twitter to pay tribute to Rocco:
Extremely sad to hear of the death of the lovely Alex Rocco. Moe Green in The Godfather but I knew him as Matt's dad in Episodes. Great guy.