Friday, April 06, 2012

I Made My Bones When You Were Going Out With Cheerleaders

In a recent interview, The Onion's AV Club asked Alex Rocco, now appearing on Magic City, about Peter O'Toole.

AVC: Did you toss a few back with him? It seems like you almost would’ve felt obliged to.

AR: Oh, yeah. [Laughs.] Yeah, but, you know, he was really a strange way. Because I was in The Godfather, playing Moe Green, he kind of in his own screwed-up way thought I was connected to the mob. Truly. He’d just be, like, “Oh, Rocco, I know what you people do...” [Laughs.]

He was slightly more forthcoming with his hometown paper, the Boston Herald.

“I learned to bet the Red Sox, the Celtics, Suffolk Downs. I thought it was a glorious life—pull up to the doughnut shop, spread out and plan your day,” he recalled.

At 20, he was busted and ended up in the Middlesex County House of Correction in Billerica.

“I was only supposed to do 90 days, but my mom went to the judge and I didn’t make parole,” Rocco said, recalling the teaching moment that earned him 10 months. “I realized I never wanted to be locked up again.”

A flip of a coin (L.A. or Miami) brought him to the West Coast. In his first job, he played a henchman in two episodes of the 1967 TV series “Batman.”

“And I was off to the races,” he said.

His has always been an animated life — and one that usually teetered between life imitating art and art imitating life. Last spring, FBI agents from Massachusetts and New Hampshire knocked on his door, asking questions about Whitey Bulger’s whereabouts.

Here's what the local papers had to say half a century ago about the former Alexander Federico Petricone Jr.:

More here.


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