Sylvester Stallone, in full Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone, (born July 6, 1946, New York City, New York, U.S.), American actor, screenwriter, and director who was perhaps best known for creating and starring in the Rocky and Rambo film series, which made him an icon in the action genre.
Stallone was born at a charity hospital in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York City. Forceps used during his birth damaged a facial nerve, leaving him with a droopy left eyelid and a speech impediment. After spending much of his infancy in boarding care, Stallone rejoined his family and moved with them to Maryland when he was five. Stallone initially stayed with his father following his parents’ divorce in 1957, but at age 15 he joined his remarried mother in Philadelphia. Because of his history of expulsion from schools, he attended a private school for troubled teenagers.
Stallone became interested in acting while attending the American College of Switzerland, and he returned to the United States to study at the University of Miami. Just a few credits short of graduation, he moved to New York City, where he struggled to find work. In 1970 he made his screen debut starring in an adult film, The Party at Kitty and Stud’s (later renamed The Italian Stallion). He subsequently began appearing in more mainstream fare, with uncredited roles in such movies as Woody Allen’s Bananas and Klute (both 1971). During that time Stallone moved to Hollywood, and his first role of note was in The Lords of Flatbush (1974), a dramedy about Brooklyn teenagers in the 1950s. Although more film and television work followed, Stallone struggled to break through.
A match between Muhammad Ali and a relatively obscure boxer named Chuck Wepner inspired Stallone to pen the script for Rocky. Although producers originally wanted someone well-known to play the title character, Stallone refused to sell the story unless he could star as the underdog boxer, Rocky Balboa. A critical and commercial success, the film was the highest-grossing movie of 1976. In addition, Stallone earned Academy Award nominations for his acting and screenplay, and the film won best picture honors. Six sequels (1979, 1982, 1985, 1990, 2006, and 2015) followed, with Stallone directing four of them. The 2015 installment, Creed, was the only sequel not written by Stallone. That film, which featured Rocky Balboa as a boxing trainer, earned strong reviews, and Stallone received his third Oscar nomination, for best-supporting actor.
Between the Rocky sequels, Stallone appeared in several forgettable action thrillers. In 1982, however, he starred as ex-Green Beret John Rambo in First Blood, which launched another highly successful series. He co-wrote the first film as well as the subsequent installments—Rambo: First Blood Part II(1985), Rambo III (1988), and Rambo (2008; Stallone also directed)—all of which featured physical prowess, dazzling special effects, and constant action. Stallone continued that formula in such thrillers as Demolition Man (1993), Cliffhanger (1993), which he also co-wrote, The Specialist (1994), Assassins (1995), Judge Dredd (1995), and Get Carter (2000). Although most of those films had only limited success at the box office in the United States, Stallone’s ability to attract audiences overseas proved enormous. In 2010 he co-wrote, directed, and starred in The Expendables, a thriller about a team of mercenaries. Popular with moviegoers, it was followed by two sequels (2012 and 2014).
Stallone occasionally ventured from the action genre, with mixed results. He starred in the comedies Oscar (1991) and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992), both of which had modest success. He received better reviews for the 1997 drama Cop Land, for which he temporarily shed his sculpted physique and gained weight for his role as a powerless sheriff. In a comedic take on boxing, Stallone starred opposite Robert De Niro in Grudge Match (2013), about aging rivals who stage a rematch. Stallone also wrote and directed Staying Alive (1983), a poorly received sequel to Saturday Night Fever (1977); both films starred John Travolta.
In addition to his film work, Stallone was a noted art collector and painter. In 1991 he became an investor in the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain; other actors involved in the venture included Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
• His trademark sneer and slur are the results of forceps complications during his birth.
• Inspired to write Rocky after watching the 1975 Muhammad Ali/Chuck Wepner fight. In that bout, Wepner, a little-known boxer, went 15 rounds with Ali.
• Rocky cost $1.1 million to make and grossed $225 million in ticket sales worldwide.
• Did all of his own singing in the 1984 film Rhinestone, co-starring Dolly Parton.
• In 2003, the American Film Institute ranked Rocky Balboa seventh on their list of the 100 Greatest Movie Heroes.
• Was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984.
• Lobbied the University of Miami (where he had attended in the ’60s) to use his film experience towards his degree; he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the school in 1998.
• In 2010, made the International Boxing Hall of Fame (as a screenwriter).
• Broke his neck while filming a fight scene with Steve Austin in The Expendables.
• Is the sixth person to be nominated for an Academy Award for playing the same character in two separate films, with his nominations for Rocky (1976) and Creed (2015).
• His three daughters – Sophia, Sistine, and Scarlet – were all jointly named Miss Golden Globe 2017.
• Supports the efforts of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
• 1977, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama: Nominee
• 1976, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
• 1976, Oscar — Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen–based on factual material or on story material not previously published: Nominee
• 1977, Golden Globe — Best Screenplay – Motion Picture: Nominee
• 1986, People’s Choice Awards — Favorite Motion Picture Actor: Winner
• 1978, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Actor: Nominee
• 1978, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Screenplay: Nominee
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• 1977, Writers Guild Awards — Original Drama: Nominee
• 2015, Critics’ Choice Awards — Best Supporting Actor: Winner
• 2016, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture: Winner
• 2015, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
1 “I believe there’s an inner power that makes winners or losers. And the winners are the ones who really listen to the truth of their hearts.”
2 “I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.”
3 “Success is usually the culmination of controlling failure.”
4 “Playing polo is like trying to play golf during an earthquake.”
5 “When I was in junior high school, the teachers voted me the student most likely to end up in the electric chair.”
6 “I have great expectations for the future, because the past was highly overrated.”
7 “I respect a woman too much to marry her.”
8 “I am a sensitive writer, actor and director. Talking business disgusts me. If you want to talk business, call my disgusting personal manager.”
9 “I tend to think of action movies as exuberant morality plays in which good triumphs over evil.”
10 “Like I said, I’ve got too much respect for women to marry them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t support them emotionally and financially.”