While we all adore and root for the stars and starlets of tinseltown, there is a treasure-trove of good men and women who have been integral to the success of all our favorite films. Bona fide, hard working and talented people who may never star in a film or see their name on a poster hanging in the local cineplex but will never escape our minds and imaginations when it comes to some good iconic and funny roles they play. This column is a tribute to the “Oh, That Guy” types, the common actor and the B-listers. They are the…
Number of Film & TV Roles: 167 credits
Notable Roles: The Godfather, A Bug’s Life, Smoking Aces, The Cannonball Run II, That Thing You Do!, The Wedding Planner, The Simpsons, The Entity, The Stunt Man, The Lady in White
Typical Roles: Mobster, Tough Guy, Wise Guy, Cop, Father
Why he’s Great: I just learned that veteran “wise guy” actor died last month with very little fanfare or notice. Which is a shame because Mr. Rocco is truly a great and versatile actor. Sure, he’s mostly typecasted as an Italian tough guy but looking at his filmography he’s way more than a simple pisan. My first real exposure was his comical spoof role of a typical mobster in The Cannonball Run II. But his trademark gravelly voice was unescapable and I can easily recognize him in any role or voice-over character, especially his recurring role on the Simpsons. When I got older and finally saw The Godfather I was amazed at his spectacular role as Moe Greene. I just watched A Bug’s Life yesterday in fact and recognized his voice immediately.
Looking at the rest of his filmography I’m shocked and saddened that I barely seen most of his other movies. For some reason, I always thought I had seen a ton of his work but apparently not. He was a great presence in Hollywood and in minor roles and I guess I just always assumed he was in more that I’ve seen.
There is a shamefully lack of good clips of him on YouTube.