I’m up late tonight, and have seen a tweet from Simpsons writer Michael Price (@Mikepriceinla) announcing that actor Alex Rocco has passed away. Looking further, there is also a post from his daughter stating the same.
Of course Simpsons Fans know Alex Rocco best as the pitch perfect voice of Roger Meyers Jr. who controls the Itchy & Scratchy empire with iron will, and bulls-eye accurate aim at his animation staff. He played the role three times, and on a commentary track gave credit to the character for making him feel like a big star, because it made his voice so recognizable.
A cursory look shows that his talent went far deeper than that one fan favorite character. Rocco was also known for appearing in the iconic fist Godfather movie, as well as playing many other tough guys over the course of his 50 year career. Obviously he was also very capable of bending his rough voice and image to comedic roles, as a kid I remember watching Freebie and the Bean more than could be considered healthy, and I loved Herbie Goes Bananas too. This past year he worked alongside Elliot Gould on Marc Maron’s self titled IFC show.
For comic and cartoon fans, Rocco also had an important role in the animated adaption of the popular Batman: Year One story as Carmine Falcon, one of the caped crusaders most enduring villains.
He also had a small part in the cult classic Batman 1966 series, as a henchman named Block, in the two-parter that famously introduced The Green Hornet and Kato to the swinging sixties!
More important than any of that, Alex Rocco was well loved by his peers and family, as is evident by the tributes coming out now. We offer our condolences to his loved ones, and also a heart felt thank you, for being allowed to experience his gifts.
You’ll be missed Alex Rocco.