James Rocchi, a former film critic and English teacher, succumbed to a heart attack on Sunday morning. He was 53.
Rocchi’s passing was first reported by fellow critic Scott Weinberg on Twitter, who was told the news by Rocchi’s wife, Amazon publicist Arianne Rocchi.
“[I] just spoke with James’ wife,”Weinberg wrote. “he checked himself into the hopsital (sic) with chest pains last night. had a heart attack at 4am and nothing could be done. 53 years old. I am heartbroken, and angry, and devastated. one of the best people I’ve ever known.”
Rocchi started freelance writing in 1996. According to LinkedIn, Rocchi was hired by MSN in 2008 as an on-camera journalist and film critic. This position made him a familiar face at film festivals and press junkets.
Rocchi’s towering height, dapper fashion sense, booming voice and unfailingly good humor (and manners) made him a standout among entertainment writers. However, Rocchi was tired of transforming celebrity interviews into long pieces and covering a more corporatized entertainment scene. He decided to quit journalism in 2015. He left journalism in 2015 after he was tired of turning celebrity interviews into substantial pieces and covering an increasingly corporatized entertainment landscape. One of his last pieces was a still-quoted analysis of what Rocchi called “Rocchi’s” philosophy. “The Marvel-Industrial Complex.”
Rocchi was a writer for many outlets during his career. He was a film director. ReviewsFor his last outlet before leaving media was in 2014 and 2015. He first launched a venture as commercial baker, then became an English teacher at the Los Angeles Unified Schools District where he remained for five years.
Sunday’s film Twitter erupted with affectionate and heartfelt reminiscences about Rocchi. They remembered his wit, talent, his sartorial sense and generosity to young entertainment writers.