‘Murder in the First’ director Marc Rocco found dead

Posted by · 1:19 pm · May 6th, 2009

Marc RoccoIt saddens me to report that filmmaker Marc Rocco, perhaps best known for directing the 1995 film “Murder in the First,” was found dead in his Northridge home over the weekend.

I was informed of the news earlier today by a mutual friend, so I called the Devonshire division of the Los Angeles Police Department in Northridge to get the details.  It seems Rocco was found by a friend on Friday, May 1 after he had not been seen for nearly a week.  Police say there was no foul play involved and they are still awaiting autopsy results.  It appears to be a natural death, I’m told.  Five days later, nothing at Variety, nothing at The Hollywood Reporter, nothing at the L.A. Times — nothing anywhere.  According to police, no one has even called asking questions yet.  Bizarre.

I never saw Rocco’s earliest work, 1987’s “Scenes from a Goldmine,” the Corey Feldman/Corey Haim starrer “Dream a Little Dream” and 1992’s “Where the Day Takes You.”  “Goldmine” and “Dream” both featured Rocco’s father Alex, who starred as Moe Greene in “The Godfather.”  But I always loved “Murder in the First,” which featured first-rate performances from both Christian Slater and Kevin Bacon.

It was one of those films that sort of came and went in the early weeks of 1995.  Fortunately the Screen Actors Guild and Broadcast Film Critics Association remembered Bacon’s work come year’s end, the former nominating his career-best leading performance, the latter awarding him for it.  Nowadays it seems most people forget the film until it pops up on TNT or the like, but it was a confident showcase that proved Rocco had some real directorial chops.

I always wondered what happened to the director after that.  He seemed to have a few projects on the horizon, according to his IMDb page, but the last two films he worked on were 2005’s “The Jacket” (story and producer credits) and 2007’s “Take” (executive producer).  He popped up two years ago to direct the music video for Eddie Vedder’s “Guaranteed” from the “Into the Wild” soundtrack, however.  Variety reported in January of 2007 that Rocco was set to adapt Jim Thompson’s “The Killer Inside Me” and that he was “mobilizing to direct” his original script “The Winter Hill Gang,” which had been set up at Paramount several years ago with Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner producing.

Sad news.  Rocco was 43.  He is survived by his wife, sister and younger brother.




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14 responses so far

  • 1 5-07-2009 at 2:55 pm

    j said...

    he was survived by his sister jennifer rocco, lawyer and younger brother lucien

  • 2 5-07-2009 at 3:01 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Thanks for that. Was only aware of the wife.

  • 3 5-08-2009 at 10:50 pm

    F said...

    where was the wife for the week he was missing?

  • 4 5-13-2009 at 4:25 pm

    J said...

    His wife was working out of the country at the time.

  • 5 10-20-2009 at 2:14 pm

    Mr. b jAXON said...

    Marc Rocco was my friend, we spent our high school years and summers together and had some really good times. In our summer group of five neighborhood youths ( Marc Rocco, Jenny Anka, her brother, Geraldine Daily and myself b jAXON) growing up I met my now x-wife G. Daily, which I still love to this day. Marc had a hand in it. I love him miss him and will always remember him.

    Marc, save a place for me, I see you soon your friend. -b jAXON

  • 6 10-20-2009 at 10:58 pm

    Diana said...

    I was working at the Warner Brother’s office as Marc’s assitant in the mid ninety’s when his mafioso father/actor came in and riddled his office with bullets because he was not given the Gary Oldman part in “murder”. After that, vicious rumors were spread by the acquitted murderer that he killed his son and that he was dead to him. In fact, later when I was working, I saw Alex on a set and I remember the actors laughing about how Mr. Rocco killed his son and I heard his remark, “no I didn’t kill him, I just shot at him.” I don’t know why he was never arrested. I think Marc died after his mother died and his natural father died. And his adoptive father, Alex, ruined and blacklisted him in the business. I never saw this side of Mr. Alex Rocco, and it seems he is bi polar or something, but I heard Marc couldn’t work due to vicious rumors and no family support for the talented, gracious Marc Rocco. May he rest in peace and shame on Mr. Alex Rocco. Shame on him.

  • 7 10-21-2009 at 9:07 am

    JH said...

    yes Diana, I don’t think a lot of people know this about Alex…..it was a little surprising he even showed up for Marc’s funeral.

  • 8 10-21-2009 at 12:22 pm

    Diana said...

    I heard he showed up there too and acted like nothing happened, that he was grief stricken?? What an actor, a B actor. I ran into Marc’s sister once, she’s a lawyer and found out Alex left his family (the impression I got) for another bit actress after his wife died, Sandy. His daughter said her father was doing fine, but he moved on with his new family. I could tell between the lines she was hurt by her father…he dumped his only granchild I found out through another friend, it’s shameful when a guy like that who acts gracious yet acts like Ryan O’Neal with a gun with his own family and wants nothing to do with his family espeically when Marc was about to do great things. I hope Marc’s sister and brother are ok.

  • 9 8-18-2013 at 12:52 pm

    Harvey Sanchez said...

    I would like to send my extended condolences to the family of Mr. Marc Rocco..
    And to thank him for his brilliant work.
    I would like to hear that the family is doing well and staying strong and remaining close.
    I’m sure that he would love nothing more then to see his family doing just that.
    Because fans like myself are very thankful for his talent. And we will forever be thankful……R.I.P.MARC ROCCO

  • 10 9-20-2015 at 7:51 pm

    John "Ratty" Arbuckle said...

    Don’t forget Dream a Little Dream, the only movie directed by Marc Rocco that starred Alex Rocco (along with Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Jason Robards, Piper Laurie, and Harry Dean Stanton – that’s an amazing cast!).