Thursday, July 23, 2015


Actor Alex Rocco has passed away at the age of 79.  Just about every news story on his passing has mentioned his role as Moe Green in "The Godfather" for the hook to get you to read the story.

And I suppose it is his most famous role; as soon as you hear the name "Moe Green", you probably summoned up the image of him on a massage table in Las Vegas... wearing his glasses......

But for me and the Toobworld Dynamic, it's his supporting role as talent agent Al Floss in the short-lived sitcom 'The Famous Teddy Z', which starred Jon Cryer and also featured Milton Selzer, Jane Sibbett, and Erica Yohn, that is of greater importance.  

The show was a darling with the critics and the role of Floss snared an Emmy award for Rocco, but they just couldn't reel in the viewers.  Even having Al cross over to an episode of 'Murphy Brown' didn't help.  ("And The Whiner Is..." - it turned out Al Floss was the agent for Murphy's co-worker Corky Sherwood on the 'FYI' news magazine.

As it stands, Al Floss is one of many characters who have two TV appearances on different shows under their belt, leaving them one shy for a "legitimate" entry into the Television Crossover Hall Of Fame.  For example:  - Jose Chung as played by Charles Nelson Reilly ('The X-Files', 'Millennium'), John Steed played by Patrick Macnee ('The Avengers', 'The New Avengers'), and Linda Hunt's character of Hetty Lange ('NCIS: LA', 'Scorpion').   At least with those three, I can keep Hope alive that a third crossover will one day be possible.  In fact, I'm set with a theoretical third entry for John Steed which has been accepted by several other crossoverists.  For Jose Chung, even though Mr. Reilly has died, I just need some show to use a book prop with his name on it.  And as for Hetty?  Sooner or later she should show up on either the 'NCIS' flagship or the other spin-off, 'NCIS: New Orleans'.

However, many of these two-time characters are no longer with us because of the passing of the actors who played them.  And now Alex Rocco has joined their company.

Not that I'm going to let that stop me....

In the late 1950s, David Rosen was working in the mail room of The Harry Cooper Talent Agency in New York City.  But then he was summoned to Washington, D.C. by Congressmen Crabtree and Guilfoyle to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee.  They wanted him to give evidence against his boss, Harry Cooper, and several of his clients (like Jan Stewart and Carrie Crane).  And to his everlasting shame, the young man did so.  Soon after, Jan Stewart faded into obscurity and Carrie Crane descended into a sordid life lived in the gossip columns (becoming a particular target of Holly Schaeffer in her last days.)  As for Harry Cooper, he changed his name to Charlie Halper and was able to survive in show business with the support of comic/singer Danny Williams.  Eventually he opened his own nightclub and did alright for himself.

David Rosen never forgave himself for turning in Cooper and the others.  And there was no way he could distance himself from himself.  So he decided to become someone else.

Moving to the West Coast, changing his name, and adopting a more hard-assed attitude, David used what he learned back in New York to quickly move up in the world of talent management.  Now known as Al Floss, he got his start as an agent at United Talent Agency where he eventually rose to the number two position, just after Abe Werkfinder.  Among his clients were Corky Sherwood of 'F.Y.I.' and actor Harlon Keyvo.  (However, Keyvo eventually dumped him for a kid in the UTA mailroom, Teddy Zakolokis.)

But as hard-edged as he appeared, Al's past shame of being an informer continued to haunt him.  Eventually, after Werkfinder died, it looked as though Floss was on top of the world, about to be the top agent in Hollywood.  But at a party for Rembrandt Brown on the September 1994 weekend just before "The Crying Man" made his comeback, Al Floss was publicly humiliated by a younger agent, a very drunk Ari Gold, who brought up Floss' past and questioned why anyone would sign with him.

SEPTEMBER 24, 1994
After cold-cocking Ari, Floss stormed out of the party and drove back home.  But Ari's words had landed; he thought long and hard through the rest of the night and realized that he would never be happy until he reconciled himself with who he really was.

And so the next day Al Floss quit UTA and went into business on his own... and under his real name - David Rosen.

Not many of his former clients followed him, having felt betrayed by his lies about himself and for covering up what he had done.  But there were a few stalwarts, one of whom knew him back in the early days in New York City: Elliott Gould.

He wasn't as rich and successful as he once was as Al Floss, but David Rosen was finally happy.  As such, he vowed to work to the very end, which is what he did.  The last client he landed was comedian and podcast king Marc Maron (although Maron had to meet with Rosen at the insistent urging by Gould.)  Unfortunately, he was so worked up over the effort that it landed him in the hospital with a stroke.  And it looks like the stroke eventually killed him.

  • 'The Famous Teddy Z'
  • 'Murphy Brown'
  • 'Maron'
  • 'Sliders'
  • 'It's Always Jan'
  • 'Make Room For Daddy'
  • 'Entourage'
  • 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington'
  • 'Night Gallery'

For Alex Roco's participation in 'The Famous Teddy Z' and 'Murphy Brown' as Al Floss, and as David Rosen in 'Maron', the ability to conflate both talent agents into one character makes him eligible for a special induction into the Television Crossover Hall Of Fame.  It's not an official induction since I can't prove David Rosen is Al Floss.  But as is the case with the Birthday and Christmas honorees, this can be accepted as a Memorial tribute.

Welcome to the Hall of Fame, David Rosen aka Al Floss......

No comments: