STUDIO CITY—Seasoned character actor Alex Rocco died on Saturday, July 18 in Studio City at the age of 79. His death was announced by his son, Sean, who also confirmed that the actor’s death was a result of cancer.
The Boston native, born in 1936 as Alexander Federico Petricone, is most famous for his role in “The Godfather,” where he played ambitious mobster Moe Greene. His character was famously assassinated under the orders of Michael Corleone at the end of the film in one of the most memorable montages in film history.
Rocco was a veteran in comedic acting. He played Roger Meyers Jr., the studio chairman behind “The Itchy and Scratchy Show” on animated series the “The Simpsons.” He also appeared on “Facts of Life,” “Home Improvement,” and the short-lived “The Famous Teddy Z,” for which he won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy in 1990.
His most recent television acting credit was an episode in IFC’s 2015 “Maron,” and his last film credit will be “The Other,” which is scheduled to be released in 2016.
Jon Cryer, one of Rocco’s “Teddy Z” co-stars, reacted to the news on Twitter, saying, “I am desolate. He was the sweetest man.” Cryer also spoke to Variety about remembering Rocco as “a deeply good-hearted guy, hilarious to be around and an actor possessed of enormous gifts.”
According to Reuters, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, his co-star from the Starz show “Magic City” stated, “He gave the best advice, told the best and dirtiest jokes, and was the first to give you a hug and kiss when it was needed.”
Rocco studied acting under Leonard Nimoy, who also died earlier this year.
Rocco is survived by his wife Shannon Wilcox, his daughters Jennifer and Kelli, and sons Lucien and Sean. He also leaves behind four grandchildren and a sister.