Alex Rocco Dead: Godfather Actor Who Played Moe Greene Dies at 79

Alex Rocco
Alex Rocco, best known for his part as a mobster in The Godfather, died at the age of 79 on Saturday, July 18. AE Jim Smeal/BEImages

Rest in peace. Alex Rocco, a character actor perhaps best known for his role as mobster Moe Greene in The Godfather, died of cancer at his home in L.A.'s Studio City neighborhood on Saturday, July 18. He was 79.

The actor’s death was first announced on Facebook by his daughter Jennifer Rocco in a touching tribute on Sunday, July 19. 

“DAD… Please don’t see just a boy caught up in dreams and fantasies,” she wrote. “See what I see,/ A gregarious soul that love me,/ I was with you Dad in all the places you have traveled,/ I ran and got your cream in your coffee,/ When you were so tired you could not be free,/ I held you up every night with those that did not understand you and me…”

Rocco was born in Cambridge, Mass., but moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s to pursue acting, studying under Star Trek legend Leonard Nimoy.

His first film credit was in Russ Meyer’s 1965 Motorpsycho, and he would go on to act in more than 160 different projects in both TV and film.

But it was his role in The Godfather that cemented his celebrity status, something that he called his “biggest ticket anywhere” in a 2012 interview with The AV Club.

That “anywhere” included parts on The George Carlin Show, Starsky and Hutch, Murder, She Wrote, and The Facts of Life.

Rocco was also a frequent voice actor, lending his unique voice to characters in everything from A Bug’s Life to Family Guy, as well as a part as Roger Meyers Jr. on The Simpsons. The actor won an Emmy for his role on The Famous Teddy Z in 1990.

In addition to his daughter Jennifer, Rocco is also survived by his wife, actress Shannon Wilcox, daughter Kelli, sons Lucien and Sean, four grandchildren, and a sister.

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