Few in Hollywood have so much clout: 45 years ago Sylvester Stallone became famous overnight as “Rocky”. He had written the boxer role for himself. At 75, “Sly” kept flexing his muscles.
Shortly before his 75th birthday, Sylvester Stallone is training his famous muscles. The action star wished his fans a “good, difficult” morning on Instagram at the beginning of June. A video shows the actor on his knees in a gym, with two 20-pound weights in his hands. With grunts and moans, he slowly stands up and lifts the huge steel plates into the air. He hits hard until the last stroke of the gong, trumps Stallone – just like the “Rocky” star did for years as a screen boxer.
Stallone, who turns 75 this Tuesday (July 6th), also gives his Instagram followers this wisdom. “Do your best, at any age, or you will regret it,” recommends the muscle man. He has found in life that anything that is easily achieved is usually worthless.
Tirelessly even in old age
The Hollywood star hardly allows himself a break. In front of the camera, Stallone strikes tirelessly. In his star role as boxer Rocky Balboa, “Sly” got into the ring in the boxing drama “Creed – Rocky’s Legacy” (2015) and in 2018 in the sequel “Creed II”. As the aged coach of the young boxer Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), however, he showed a softer side.
In 2019 Stallone let his fists fly at the side of Dave Bautista in the action thriller “Escape Plan 3: The Extractors”. In the same year, the action icon struck in “Rambo: Last Blood” with knives, fists, pistols and bows and arrows. Stallone was 36 years old when the original “Rambo” hit theaters in 1982. In his fifth adventure as the Vietnam War veteran John Rambo, he defied a murderous drug cartel in Mexico.
The years have also left their mark on a “Rocky” and “Rambo” star. “I must have had around 30 operations,” said Stallone at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, where he showed excerpts from the new “Rambo”. Something had been repaired and patched everywhere. “My body squeaks in the morning,” he said with a smile. It then first has to be “oiled” so that it can move smoothly again.
The shoot for “Rocky IV” was particularly hard in the mid-80s, when he asked Dolph Lundgren to strike as hard as he could. “Phew, that was a mistake!” Said Stallone. The only thing he could remember next was that he was on his way to the hospital. “I was in the intensive care unit for four and a half days.”
No Oscar for Stallone
The original “Rocky” (1977) was an Oscar sensation with ten nominations. The boxing drama won the award for “Best Film” for directing and editing. Stallone, who was nominated for the original screenplay and as a leading actor, went away empty-handed. Almost four decades later, Hollywood honored the old star’s touching appearance in “Creed – Rocky’s Legacy” with another Oscar nomination, but “Sly” suffered another defeat at the award ceremony. The winner was the Briton Mark Rylance with his supporting role as a Russian spy in “Bridge of Spies – The Negotiator”.
Stallone didn’t show the disappointment. “Follow your dreams, never give up,” he posted on Instagram at the time, plus a photo of himself, smiling, with a clenched fist and a wink.
The New York-born son of an Italian immigrant had struggled by making small appearances in the early 1970s. At the age of 25 he played in the erotic film “The Party at Kitty and Stud’s”. Woody Allen hired him for a tiny part as a thug in “Bananas”, and he only had a small appearance in the thriller “Klute” with Jane Fonda.
Frustrated by the sluggish acting career, Stallone wrote the script for the boxer film “Rocky” (1976) and with it the role of the fictional boxer Rocky Balboa himself. After this hit, Hollywood’s up-and-coming star came up with another screen hero a few years later, the taciturn Vietnam veteran “Rambo”.
“A lot of crap” was shot in the 80s and 90s
Stallone isn’t proud of all of his films. In the 80s and 90s he also shot “a lot of crap”, he looked back self-critically in Cannes in 2019. Even his daughters would have asked him: “Why did you do this shit?” Then he said: “How do you think I paid for your education?”
Stallone had two sons with his first wife, photographer Sasha Czack, in the 1970s. Sage Stallone died of heart failure in 2012 at the age of only 36. The actor’s second marriage to his Danish colleague Brigitte Nielsen was childless. The action star has been married to former model Jennifer Flavin (52) since 1997. In mid-May, Flavin posted a wedding photo of the couple on Instagram and congratulated the “love of my life” on their 24th wedding anniversary. They have three daughters, Sophia (24), Sistine (23) and Scarlet (19), who emulate their parents in show business. Sistine and Corinne Foxx, daughter of Jamie Foxx, played the leading roles in the underwater horror “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” in 2019.
Sly fans have to wait until August for his next appearance. Stallone is on board alongside Margot Robbie, John Cena, Viola Davis and Idris Elba in the comic book adaptation “Suicide Squad”, directed by James Gunn (“Guardians of the Galaxy”). “I always love working with my friend Stallone,” Gunn wrote on Instagram while filming last November. “Even though Sly is an iconic movie star, most people have no idea what a wonderful actor this guy is.”
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