By Dennis McLellan
May 28, 2009
Rocco's body was found May 1 by a friend at a North Hills home where Rocco had been house-sitting, said Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Los Angeles County coroner's office.
There were no signs of trauma and no reason to believe there was foul play, Winter said. Determination of the cause of death is pending further tests.
The son of character actor Alex Rocco -- he played Moe Greene in "The Godfather" -- Rocco made his feature film directorial debut with "Scenes From the Goldmine," a 1987 drama about the L.A. rock music scene that he co-wrote and co-produced.
His next film was "Dream a Little Dream," a 1989 body-switching comedy with Jason Robards, Piper Laurie, Corey Feldman and Meredith Salenger.
Rocco's 1992 film "Where the Day Takes You" spurred New York Times film critic Janet Maslin to write that "Rocco's name can be added to the list of formidable new talent."
A gritty tale of young runaways living on the streets of Hollywood, the film's cast included Kyle MacLachlan, Dermot Mulroney, Sean Astin, Lara Flynn Boyle, Will Smith and Ricki Lake.
"Murder in the First" (1995), starring Kevin Bacon, Christian Slater and Gary Oldman, was inspired by the true story of an Alcatraz prisoner who was driven to the brink of insanity during three years of solitary confinement for an attempted escape and was then tried for murdering a fellow inmate soon after his release from solitary.
Among Rocco's other credits: He was executive producer of "Take" (2007), and he co-produced and co-wrote the story for "The Jacket"( 2005).
Born June 19, 1962, Rocco grew up in the San Fernando Valley. He became a production assistant on "The Stunt Man," a 1980 film directed by Richard Rush, who became a mentor. Rocco later became a director trainee at Warner Bros. Television.
A list of surviving family members was not available.
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