Anthony Mockus, R.I.P.

Published April 5, 2022

With great sorrow I advise of the death on Friday, April 1, 2022, of Anthony Mockus. Tony was the husband of Mary Lou Mockus, an activist in her own right and the friend and colleague of many of us.

Tony Mockus was an active and caring citizen, deeply devoted to the cause of American liberty, and a stalwart of the Conservative Movement in the Chicago area.  He was a long-time member and / or supporter of organizations as varied as Catholic Citizens of Illinois, The Heartland Institute, Hillsdale College, the Lincoln Legal Foundation, Toward Tradition, and the United Republican Fund of Illinois, to name but a few.

He was a cherished friend and mentor of mine.  For example, he did the voiceovers of my television and radio commercials when I ran for President of the Cook County Board in 1994.

Mr. Mockus, who was born on June 13, 1929, at Chicago, was 92.  He died of heart failure — the physical kind, decidedly not the spiritual kind. He is survived by Mary Lou; by a son, Anthony Mockus, Jr., of Valparaiso, Indiana; by a daughter, Judy Mockus Hooper of Vancouver, Washington; and by several grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held next Saturday, April 9, 2022, at St. John Cantius Catholic Church, 825 North Carpenter Street in Chicago. Mr. Mockus will lie in state in the church and the family will receive friends from 12:00 noon until 1:00 p.m.  A funeral Mass will be offered at 1:00 p.m.  Interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Evanston.

Tony Mockus was an actor of considerable note, his career spanning decades and including appearances on stage, the cinematic screen, and television.

For example, he was “Clifford Baylor” in the television series, “Chicago Fire” (2013);  “Mayor Rutledge” in the television series “Boss” (201-2012);  “Father O’Donnell” in the made-for-TV movie, “Patron Saint of Liars” (1998);   “Principal Weintraub” in the 1980s TV series, “21 Jump Street”;  and “Sergeant Zarkovich” in the 1970s TV serial documentary, “Appointment with Destiny.”


Tony Mockus as Mayor Rutledge in “Boss”.

On the big screen he had numerous roles, including as “Chief John Fitzgerald” in “Backdraft” (1991);  “The Minister” in “She’s Having a Baby” ( 1988); and “The Judge” in “The Untouchables” (with Sean Connery) (1987).


Tony Mockus brings down the gavel in “The Untouchables”.

Although he always made his home in the Chicago area, he appeared on theatrical stages from coast to coast, starring in productions of “A Doll’s House”, “A Walk in the Woods”, “End of the World”, “Inherit the Wind”, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”, “On Golden Pond”, and “Our Town”.


Tony Mockus with co-star in “Inherit the Wind”

In the Chicago theatrical scene he was also known as a director;  for example, he staged and directed a successful and long-running version of “A Christmas Carol” at The Goodman Theatre. An accomplished Shakespearean actor, he was the go-to dramatist for Shakespearean readings and discussions on “Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg” on WGN Radio.

Tony Mockus stood at the confluence of culture and politics.  As artist and as citizen, he understood the connections between the two.  He grasped how culture precedes politics, and how politics influences culture.  He was ever focused on what Russell Kirk called “the permanent things.”

He was deeply devoted to his family, of course, and to his community.   Despite a busy theatrical schedule he always made time for involvements in civic and neighborhood organizations and projects. A staunch Roman Catholic, he undertook many kinds of lay ministries, including voicing the Bible for recorded versions of the Holy Scriptures. (Moses?  You thought Charlton Heston defined Moses?  Charlton Heston was but a Bar Mitzvah boy compared with the authoritative, stentorian tones of Tony Mockus!)

At the same time he was a man of wide friendships that knew no boundaries of religion, race, or class, and he was deeply involved in many interfaith activities, including a long and productive commitment to Jewish-Christian dialogue.

Tony Mockus was a patriotic American, who saw service as a solider in the U.S. Army in combat in Korea.  He believed deeply in the American experiment and the rule of law, and often spoke out in defense of democracy and individual liberty.

Friends who wish to send condolences to Mary Lou and the Mockus family may do so at:

Mrs. Anthony Mockus
2717 Woodbine Avenue
Evanston, Illinois  60201

May the memory of Tony Mockus forever be as a blessing.