Rocky Balboa, the underdog champion we all loved, in fact, bears much more of a resemblance to the actor who played him than you might think.
The inspiring story of Sylvester Stallone’s lowest point in life to his fame is one that truly makes you believe in the value of determination and hard-work.
Born in July 6, 1946, in New York City, Sylvester Stallone rose to greatness with his performance in the Academy Award winning drama flick Rocky (1976), which he also wrote. A Golden Globe win and an Oscar nomination for works that have drifted across movies like First Blood in 1982 to Creed in 2015, Stallone is one of the most venerate, powerful and esteemed action movie stars of all time.
But, the climb up the ladder to where he is was far from what you would think would’ve been comfortable.
Sylvester Stallone had a troubled childhood, one where he had to cope with the divorce of his parents. He spent a majority of his early childhood in foster care and at 5 years old, moved in with his father in Washington DC. Affected by the hostile relationship his parents shared, Stallone struggled emotionally and academically which resulted in him being expelled from several schools. Stallone dropped out of school to build a career in acting in New York.
The Things He Did That Made Him The Legend He Is: The Rumors Are True
1. To keep himself afloat, Stallone cleaned lion cages at the city zoo, worked as an usher at cinema halls and undertook all kinds of odd jobs.
2. In fact, that rumor about him first appearing in a porn film is not a rumor. He made a small cameo appearance in an adult movie, The Party at Kitty and Stud’s (1970).
3. He began to focus more on writing screenplays and scripts during his time as a struggling actor.
After a series of trivial noncredit parts in a few mainstream movies, Stallone wrote a script for a movie that would soon become one of the most successful cinematic releases in history.
He balanced his homelessness, surviving hand-to mouth, script writing and part-time jobs during the early 70’s until ’75 where Stallone found himself so broke and financially crippled that Butkus, his bull mastiff- the only family he had at that point, had to be sold to the first person that seemed interested for about $3000. He retained some money so that he could focus on his script writing that would later turn into the movie Rocky, which doesn’t even require an introduction.
This man, who had lost his home, his companion and was struggling to make ends meet, Stallone, didn’t let life break his spirit even at a time like such.
A partially paralyzed lip and slurred speech did their best to hold Stallone back, but it didn’t work.
While the script for Rocky was basking in its glory after receiving attention from production houses, Stallone had to step down and walk away TWICE from deals that were offered.
Upon being offered to have the script produced to a feature film, Stallone rejected it because the producers didn’t let him play the protagonist. An offer of over ₹67 lakh at a time when he was the poorest guy around. An offer that the producers amped up to a staggering ₹2.7 crore after continuing negotiations, which he still declined – claiming that he was an actor and not just a writer. Eventually, the producers buckled and offered Stallone to play the protagonist in the movie with a final offer of ₹17 lakh.
When Stallone went back to take his dogs, the gentlemen who had now claimed ownership of Butkus, put up a tough fight before returning him. A fight that costed Stallone ₹2 lakh and a couple of dozen threats he had to mete before he could get his dog back. The dog would later make an appearance in Rocky.
This turning point in his life was followed by more scripts and more hits. Rocky and Rambo were born, and so was the legend of Sylvester Stallone.
In the words of Rocky Balboa, “Going in one more round when you don’t think you can – that’s what makes all the difference in your life.”