The actor with the asymmetrical face founded a myth with “Rocky” and created a popular word with “Rambo”.
Shortly before his 75th birthday, Sylvester Stallone is training his famous muscles. A recent video shows the actor on his knees in a gym, with two 20-kilo weights in his hands. With grunts and moans, he slowly stands up and lifts the huge steel plates into the air. Stallone will be 75 on July 6th. He does not skimp on simple wisdom: “Do your best, at any age, or you will regret it”, gives his Instagram followers for example.
He hardly gives himself a break. In his star role as boxer Rocky Balboa, “Sly” entered the ring in the boxing drama “Creed – Rocky’s Legacy” in 2015 and 2018. As the aged coach of the young boxer Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), he showed a softer side. And in 2019 he gave another farewell performance as John Rambo.
But above all he was Rocky: Sylvester Stallone, one of the most unlikely Hollywood stars of all time, not only because of his asymmetrical face, founded a myth with his script for John G. Avildsen’s masterpiece “Rocky” in the mid-1970s: the story of an impoverished debt collector with Italian roots, who got a chance at the big hit in mangy Philadelphia. Poor vs. rich, authenticity vs. artificiality, heart vs. money: world views knock each other in the face. In the end, Rocky triumphs and becomes a legend.
“Rocky” was an Oscar sensation with ten nominations. The boxing drama won the award for “Best Film” for direction and editing. Stallone, who was nominated for the original screenplay and as a leading actor, went away empty-handed. The film established a series with a total of eight parts so far.
The years did not pass Stallone without a trace. “I must have had around 30 operations,” he said at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019. 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. One mistake: “I was in the intensive care unit for four and a half days.”
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.
In the early 1970s, the New York-born son of an Italian immigrant struggled to get by with small appearances. 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 made a small appearance in the thriller “Klute” with Jane Fonda.
In 1982 Stallone came up with another screen hero with the taciturn Vietnam veteran “Rambo”. The classic of the law of fist was also a pioneer of the action genre and created a catchphrase through the name of the protagonist John Rambo – and by 2007 it had three (rather gross motor) sequels.
Incidentally, Stallone is not 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 training?”
Stallone had two sons with his first wife, photographer Sasha Czack, in the 1970s. Sage Stallone, who also shot with the father, 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. You have three daughters.
Two of his five children were born sick: Seargeoh (Rocky’s newborn son in “Rocky 2”) was born with autism and daughter Sophia Rose was born in 1996 with a hole in her heart.
“Sly” fans have to wait until August for his next gig. Stallone is on board alongside Margot Robbie, John Cena, Viola Davis and Idris Elba in the comic book adaptation of “Suicide Squad”, directed by James Gunn (“Guardians of the Galaxy”). “I always love working with my boyfriend 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.”
Incidentally, Stallone shares his birthday with ex-US President George W. Bush.