Saturday, April 18, 2015

He Played Moe Greene in THE GODFATHER

"Do you know who I am?  I'm Moe Greene!  I made my bones when you were going out with cheerleaders!"  
Alex Rocco delivered lines that millions of guys continue to quote today.  The veteran film and TV actor knocked out one helluva memorable performance in the 1972 classic, THE GODFATHER.  His fearless hothead character was not-so-loosely based on mobster Bugsy Siegel.  So why couldn't he be called "Bugsy Siegel" in the movie?  And how did the legendary singer and Oscar-winning actor, Frank Sinatra, affect the Las Vegas shooting schedule for The Godfather?
You get the answers to those questions and learn even more fascinating behind-the-scenes facts in a Boston area podcast interview of actor Alex Rocco.  Mike Di Stasio calls himself "The Hollywood Kid." and, I'm proud to say, I've been interviewed by him on his podcast.  He's lively, a good listener, a good conversationalist and he's prepared.  The Hollywood Kid does his homework.  His interview with  Rocco was as good, if not better, than some celebrity interviews I've seen on network news programs.  I've rarely heard or seen Rocco interviewed.  Odd, considering the huge impact The Godfather movie still has on our pop culture.  He was a stand-out character in a very famous film.  I loved hearing The Hollywood Kid with Alex Rocco.

In The Hollywood Kid's half-hour chat, we learned about the special effects that went into the massage table scene when a hitman ruined Moe Greene's eyeglasses.  We also hear revealing stories about how Marlon Brando treated film crew members and studio heads.  The acting legend was the star of The Godfather.  Robert Evans was a Paramount production chief at the time the film was being made.  I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles at the time.  I loved reading the entertainment columns in The Los Angeles Times and other newspapers with the casting and other production updates on that Francis Ford Coppola film.  The industry buzz, if you can believe it, was that The Godfather was destined to be one big flop.

We hear how the Moe Greene role changed Rocco's career.  Other highlights of the interview include Rocco talking about another movie he made, a crime drama that he calls a "great film."  I've never seen 1973's The Friends of Eddie Coyle but I recall reading rave reviews of it.  Robert Mitchum was the star.  Mitchum received one Oscar nomination and it came early in his film career.  He was a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee for 1945's Story of G.I. Joe, a drama about our fighting men in World War II.  I read film critic articles that said Mitchum should've been a Best Actor nominee for the 1973 crime drama Alex Rocco did with him.  Rocco tells a cool story about meeting the man he calls a "fantastic actor."  Mitchum was an under-appreciated actor who had one cool walk.  Watch him walk through New York in the opening credits of 1962's Two for the Seesaw.  Witness his versatility in Out of the Past (1947), The Night of the Hunter (1955), The Sundowners (1960) and The List of Adrian Messenger (1963).  That last film is an all-star brain tease mystery directed by John Huston that doesn't get much mention.  But, trust me, Robert Mitchum is brilliant in it.  I must see The Friends of Eddie Coyle.

Alex Rocco's extensive list of film and TV credits includes sitcoms such as The Facts of Life, Murphy Brown and The Golden Girls in which he got his arms around Bea Arthur.                                                                                                                                                  
Mr. Rocco is now seen in episodes of the Showtime sitcom called Episodes.  It stars Matt LeBlanc.  Rocco wrapped a new movie with Valerie Perrine (Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for 1974's Lenny starring Dustin Hoffman and co-star in 1978's Superman).  It's called Silver Skies.
What's the show biz item on Alex Rocco's Wish List?  He'd love to make a movie with his favorite actor, a man he says "should have 8 Academy Awards."  Who is it?  You've got to listen to The Hollywood Kid's podcast.  A hint:  This actor already has 2 Oscars.

You can find The Hollywood Kid on Twitter: @MikeDiStasio.  His podcast show is called REEL TALK w/ The Hollywood Kid.  The show has a Facebook page.  Hear the show on

Mike's show aired Saturday morning, April 18th.  He has another show coming up on May 16th.  He needs to repeat his show with Alex Rocco.  It rocks.

One last thing -- near the end of the interview, Mike does lines from The Godfather with Rocco.  Not only was it a fun, spontaneous moment, you hear that Mike Di Stasio should audition for voiceover work in national radio commercials.  And he could surely handle a few lines in films or TV shows being shot in the Boston area.

He's a talented guy.  Probably more talented than he knows.  A good, imaginative and reputable Boston agent should call him in for a meeting.

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