Rachel Mcgrath For Dailymail.com
13:39 EST, 19 July 2015
17:09 EST, 19 July 2015
Alex Rocco, who played mobster and casino owner Moe Greene in The Godfather, has died.
He was 79.
His daughter Jennifer Rocco announced the news late on Saturday night on her Facebook page, describing her father as ‘a gregarious soul.’
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Passed away: Alex Rocco, who played casino owner Moe Greene in The Godfather, died Saturday. He was 79
Rocco was born Alexander Federico Petricone in Boston in 1936 and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, studied acting with the late Leonard Nimoy, also a Boston native.
He began his acting career in Hollywood in 1965.
Although he worked steadily, it was his role in the 1972 blockbuster based on Mario Puzo’s book and directed by Francis Ford Coppola that truly put him on the map.
Iconic role: Rocco’s performance as mobster Moe Greene in the 1972 classic made him a sought after character actor in Hollywood
In a 2012 interview with A.V. Club, Rocco acknowledged that landing the role of Moe Greene was ‘without a doubt, my biggest ticket anywhere. I mean that literally.’
‘Every time I ever hear the theme from The Godfather, I always say, ‘Thank you, God.”
As Moe, he had several lines in The Godfather that became instant classics.
‘Do you know who I am?’ was one.
Another celebrated quip was when Moe tells Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino: ‘You don’t buy me out. I buy you out.’
Thankful: Although he was Italian, Rocco nailed the part of the Jewish Las Vegas ‘businessman’ and said the role ‘without doubt’ changed his life
Rocco went on to play roles in movies such as Get Shorty, The Wedding Planner and That Thing You Do as well as appearing in many TV shows including Starsky And Hutch, The Facts Of Life, The Love Boat, and most recently the Starz series Magic City.
He was also a regular voice artist for The Simpsons and Family Guy, and won an Emmy in 1990 for his supporting role in the TV comedy The Famous Teddy Z, that starred Jon Cryer.
He is survived by his second wife Shannon Wilcox, daughter Jennifer and son Lucien, and by his grandson Anthony.
His first wife and the mother of his thee children Sandie Elaine Garrett passed away in 2002 and son Marc Rocco, a director, predeceased him in 2009.
Award-winning: Rocco won an Emmy in 1990 for his supporting role on the TV comedy The Famous Teddy Z
Jennifer, an attorney, posted a poignant poem to her father on Facebook recalling how close the two of them were.
She described how she knew he was dying two weeks ago and saw how much pain he was in.
‘So I pray and say it’s okay to be away, I will see you soon my love, But not just yet…’ she wrote.
‘Until then I will find you, In the butterflies, The wind and the sea, The rain that hit today was your storm of passing, This I know as the rain stopped when you took your leave.’
Last interview: Rocco continued to work right up until the end and gave an interview posted on YouTube on June 9 about working on independent film Silver Skies, something he called ‘one of the best shoots of my life’
The veteran actor continued to work right up until the end.
He had recently completed roles in two movies: Silver Skies with Valerie Perrine and George Hamilton, and The Other with Cary Elwes and Drea de Matteo.
In what is possibly the last interview before he died, Rocco talked about making Silver Skies for director Rosemary Rodriguez.
The video posted on YouTube on June 9 also shows the actor in several scenes from the independent film
‘It’s one of the best shoots of my life,’ he said.
‘I’m having fun. I really am.’
Beloved: Rocco, seen here with Nancy McKeon, had a recurring role in the 1980’s TV series The Facts Of Life
Long career: Rocco worked steadily in Hollywood from 1965 up until his death. He’s seen here opposite Jennifer Lopez in the 2011 romantic comedy The Wedding Planner
Made guy: Rocco was often picked to play mob types following The Godfather. He had a recurring role in Starz series Magic City from 2012-13, about mobsters and other characters in Miami Beach in the 1950s
Although he was Italian, Rocco was often cast as Jewish, in large part thanks to his performance as Moe, the Jewish Las Vegas ‘businessman’ based on the real-life Bugsy Siegel.
He played an aging Jewish mobster in the Starz series Magic City from 2012-13.
Series star Jeffrey Dean Morgan said with the actor’s passing, the world was left with ‘a little less magic’ in it.
‘For those of us lucky enough to get to know Rocco, we were blessed,’ Morgan said in a statement to THR.com on Sunday.
‘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. To know Roc was to love Roc. He will be missed greatly.’
Character actor: Rocco was cast by Tom Hanks in his 1996 film That Thing you Do which Hanks wrote, directed ad co-starred in. Rocco is seen with his young co-stars Steve Zahn and Jonathan Schaech