Sylvester Stallone Biography

Sylvester Stallone Biography on Monsters and Critics


"Sylvester Stallone" (born "Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone" on July 6, 1946) is a two-time Academy Award-nominated American actor, director, producer and screenwriter.

He has established himself as both a dramatic actor and action star and has had his share of both critical and boxoffice success, for films such as "Rocky", "First Blood", "Cop Land" and "F.I.S.T".


Early life

Stallone was born in Hell's Kitchen/Clinton, Manhattan, New York; But grew up in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The son of Jacqueline 'Jackie' Labofish, an astrologer, former dancer, and promoter of women's wrestling, and Frank Stallone Sr., an actor and singer. Stallone's father was an immigrant from Gioia del Colle (province of Bari, Apulia, Italy). Stallone attended a private boarding school, The Glenholme School, in Washington, CT. In the 1960s, Stallone attended the American College of Switzerland, Leysin and the University of Miami for three years. He came within a few credit hours of graduation before he decided to drop out and pursue an acting career. After Stallone's request that his acting and life experiences be accepted in exchange for his remaining credits, he was granted a Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA) degree by the President of the University of Miami in 1999.

Early film roles 1970-1975

Stallone made his film debut with the lead in a 1970 hardcore pornographic film, "Party at Kitty and Stud's". He was paid US$200 for two days work. Scenes of sexual penetration were edited out on later releases of the film designed to cash in on Stallone's fame. These releases were re-packaged under the names of "Italian Stallion" (taken from Stallone's nickname and a line from the film) and "Cocky" (a spoof of "Rocky").

Stallone's other first few film roles were minor, and included brief uncredited appearances in Woody Allen's "Bananas" (1971) as a subway thug, in the psychological thriller "Klute" (1971) as an extra dancing in a club, and in the Jack Lemmon vehicle "Prisoner of 2nd Avenue" (1975) as a youth. In the Lemmon film, Jack Lemmon chases and tackles Stallone, thinking he is a pickpocket. He had his first starring role in the cult hit "The Lords of Flatbush" (1974). In 1975 he played supporting roles in "Farewell, My Lovely", "Capone" and, another cult hit, "Death Race 2000". He also made guest appearances on the TV series "Police Story" and "Kojak".

Success with "Rocky" 1976

Stallone did not gain world-wide fame until his starring role in the smash hit "Rocky" (1976). The film was awarded the 1976 Academy Award for Best Picture. On March 24, 1975, Stallone saw the Ali-Chuck Wepner fight which inspired the foundation idea of "Rocky". That night Stallone went home, and in three days he had written the script for "Rocky". After that, he tried to sell the script with the intention of playing the lead role. Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler in particular liked the script (which was suggested by Stallone after a casting), and planned on courting a star like Burt Reynolds or James Caan for the lead role.

The final result was an unequalled success; "Rocky" was nominated for ten Academy Awards in all, including Best Actor for Stallone himself.

Rocky, Rambo and new film roles 1978-1989

The sequel "Rocky II" which Stallone had also written and directed was released in 1979 and also became a major success, grossing US$200 million worldwide.

Apart from the "Rocky" films, Stallone did many other films in the late 1970s and early 1980s which were critically acclaimed but were not successful at the box office. He received critical praise for films such as "F.I.S.T." (1978), a social drama in which he plays a warehouse worker who becomes involved in the labor union leadership and "Paradise Alley" (1978), a family drama in which he plays one of three brothers who is a con artist and who helps his other brother who is involved in wrestling.

In the early 1980s he starred alongside British veteran Michael Caine in "Escape to Victory" (1981), a sports drama in which he plays a prisoner of war involved in a Nazi propaganda football tournament. Stallone then made the action thriller film "Nighthawks" (1981), in which he plays a New York city cop who plays a cat and mouse game with a foreign terrorist, played by Rutger Hauer.

Stallone had another major franchise success as Vietnam veteran John Rambo in the action adventure film "First Blood" (1982). The first installment of Rambo was both a critical and box office success. The critics praised Stallone's performance, saying he made Rambo seem human as opposed to the way he is portrayed in the book of the same name First Blood and in the other films. Two Rambo sequels "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (1985) and "Rambo III" (1988) followed. Although box office hits, they met with much less critical praise than the original. He also continued his box office success with the "Rocky" franchise and wrote, directed and starred in two more sequels to the series: "Rocky III" (1982) and "Rocky IV" (1985). He also attempted roles in different genres when he wrote and starred in the comedy film "Rhinestone" (1984) where he played a wannabe country music singer and the drama film "Over the Top" (1987) where he played a truck driver who enters an arm wrestling competition to impress his estranged son. But these films did not do well at the box office and were poorly received by critics. The action films "Cobra" (1986) and "Tango and Cash" (1989) continued the hit parade, further solidifying Stallone's fanbase.

Stallone has turned down many hit films: "Romancing the Stone", "Beverly Hills Cop", "Die Hard", "Pretty Woman", "Basic Instinct", "Pulp Fiction", "Jackie Brown", "Enemy of the State". His trademark sneer and slurred speech are the result of ptosis and partial paralysis in the left side of his face caused by birth complications.


At the start of the 1990s, Stallone starred in the fifth installment of the Rocky franchise "Rocky V" which was considered a box office disappointment and was also disliked by fans as an unworthy entry in the series. It was intended to have been the last installment in the franchise at the time.

After starring in the critical and commercial failures "Oscar" (1991) and "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot" (1992) during the early 90s, he made a major comeback in 1993 with the blockbuster hit "Cliffhanger" which became an enormously successful film grossing over US$255 million worldwide. Later that year he enjoyed another hit with the futuristic action film "Demolition Man" which grossed in excess of $158 million worldwide. His string of hits continued with 1994's "The Specialist" (over $170 million worldwide gross). In 1995 he played the comic book based title character Judge Dredd who was taken from the popular British comic book 2000 AD in the film of the same name. His overseas box office appeal even saved the domestic box office disappointment of "Judge Dredd" with a worldwide tally of $113 million. He also appeared in film 'Assassins (1995)' with co stars Julianne Moore and Antonio Banderas. In 1996 he starred in the disaster movie "Daylight" which made only $33 million in the U.S but was a major hit overseas taking in over $126 million, totaling $159,212,469 worldwide. Originally 'Daylight' had been penned as 'Cliff Hanger II'.

Following his breakthrough performance in "Rocky", critic Roger Ebert had once said he could become the next Marlon Brando - however arguably Stallone had never recaptured the critical acclaim he won in "Rocky". Stallone did however go onto receive much acclaim for his role in the crime drama "Cop Land" (1997) in which he starred alongside Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta, but the film was only a minor success at the box office. His performance led him to win the Stockholm International Film Festival Best Actor Award. In 1998 he did voice-over work for the computer-animated film "Antz," which grossed over 90 million domestically.

As the new millennium began, Stallone starred the thriller "Get Carter" which was a remake of the 1971 British Michael Caine film "Get Carter". "Get Carter" was poorly received by both critics and audiences and was a box office failure. Stallone career declined considerably after his subsequent films "Driven" (2001), "Avenging Angelo" (2002) and "D-Tox" (2002) also failed to do well at the box office and were poorly received by critics.


In 2003 he played a villainous role in the third installment of the Spy Kids trilogy "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over" which was a huge box office success (almost 200 million worldwide). Stallone also had a cameo appearance in the 2003 French film "Taxi 3" as a passenger.

Following several poorly reviewed box office flops, Stallone started to regain prominence for his supporting role in the neo-noir crime drama "Shade" (2003) which was a box office failure but was praised by critics. He was also attached to star and direct a film about the murder of rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls titled "Notorious" but the film has yet to be made due to the legal problems concerning the movie.

In 2005 he was the co-presenter alongside Sugar Ray Leonard of the NBC Reality television boxing series "The Contender". That same year he also made a guest appearance in two episodes of the television series "Las Vegas". In 2005, Stallone also inducted wrestling icon Hulk Hogan, who appeared in Rocky III as a wrestler named Thunderlips, into the WWE Hall of Fame; Stallone was also the person who offered Hogan the cameo in Rocky III .

2006-present: Resurrecting Rocky Balboa and John Rambo

After three years since his last film appearance in "Shade", Stallone made a comeback to films in 2006 with the sixth and final installment of his successful Rocky series; "Rocky Balboa", which was both a critical and commercial hit. After the critical and box office failure of the previous and presumed last installment "Rocky V", Stallone had decided that he should end the series with a sixth installment which would be a much more appropriate climax to the series. The total domestic box office gross came to a close with US$70.2 million (an impressive US$155.3 million worldwide), almost three times its production budget. His performance in "Rocky Balboa" has been praised and garnered mostly positive reviews.

Stallone is currently in post-production on the fourth installment of his other successful Rambo franchise with the sequel being titled simply "Rambo". The film is experiencing very positive buzz due to a favorable reception of its rough cut trailer for Cannes. The movie is scheduled for a January 25, 2008 release.

Future projects

Next on Stallone's agenda is one of his dream projects. He will direct (but not star) a biography on the life of Edgar Allan Poe, which will be titled "Poe". He is also considering starring in and directing a remake of the 1974 Michael Winner thriller, Death Wish.

Stallone has also been linked to "Inglorious Bastards", a Quentin Tarantino film, which is set to be Tarantino's next project.

Other work

Stallone's debut as a director came in 1978 with "Paradise Alley", which he also wrote and starred in. In addition, he directed "Staying Alive" (the sequel to "Saturday Night Fever"), along with "Rocky II", "III", "IV" and "Balboa".

In August 2005 Stallone released his book 'Sly Moves' which claimed to be a guide to fitness and nutrition as well as a candid insight into his life and works from his own perspective. The book also contained many photographs of Stallone throughout the years as well as pictures of him performing exercises.

In addition to writing all six "Rocky" films, Stallone also wrote "Cobra", "Driven", and the last "Rambo" film, "John Rambo". He has co-written several other films, such as "F.I.S.T.", "Rhinestone", "Over the Top" and the first three "Rambo" films. His last major success as a co-writer came with 1993's "Cliffhanger".

Stallone owns shares in Planet Hollywood restaurants with Bruce Willis and formerly Arnold Schwarzenegger (who has since sold his part).

Personal life

Other famous members in Stallone's family are his brother, actor/singer Frank Stallone and his mother, Jacqueline Stallone, who achieved notoriety in the middle 1990s as an astrologer. Stallone's pet Bullmastiff, Butkus, appeared in the first Rocky film as an often-teased favorite pet of Balboa's who lived in Adrian's pet shop.

Stallone has been married three times, to Sasha Czack (1974-1985), Brigitte Nielsen (1985-1987), and Jennifer Flavin (1997-present). He has five children, sons Sage Moonblood and Seargeoh, who is autistic (with Czack, born 1976 and 1979 respectively), and daughters Sophia Rose, Sistine Rose and Scarlett Rose (with Flavin, born 1996, 1998, 2002 respectively). He and Flavin, an Irish-American, were married at Winston Churchill's birthplace, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England.

In addition to these marriages, he has had romantic relationships with models Susan Anton, Angie Everhart, Naomi Campbell, and Janice Dickinson.

Stallone claims to have been able to bench press 385-400 lbs (174.6-181.4 kg) and squat 500 lbs (226.8 kg) in his prime. While in a bench pressing contest with former Mr. Olympia Franco Columbu, he severely tore his pectoral muscle and needed over 160 stitches on it. This is why one half of his chest is more vascular than the other.

On January 14, 2007, Stallone was at Goodison Park to promote Rocky Balboa, and to watch Everton take on Reading in an English Premier League game. The match ended as a 1-1 draw. Stallone paraded on the field at half time adorned in a home team scarfe and received a warm reception from the 40,000 fans. Stallone has claimed to be a keen soccer fan since filming Escape to victory in the 1980s and now claims to be an official Everton fan.

In July 2007 Stallone had a tattoo done on his upper right arm of a portrait of his wife, Jennifer Flavin. Incorporated into the tattoo is three roses for their three girls that have rose for middle names. The tattoo took about 14 hours and isn't finished, it will be expanded onto Stallone's chest a bit.

Growth hormone controversy

On February 16 2007, Stallone flew into Sydney, Australia as part of his promotional tour "Rocky Balboa". Upon landing he was searched by Australian Customs officials, who found 48 vials of the human growth hormone (HGH) Jintropin in his personal luggage. As a result of this, he was charged one count of importing a prohibited import. The hormones are banned under the Australian Customs Act and are not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. In a court hearing on May 15 2007, he pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing a controlled substance. On May 21st 2007 he was formally convicted of importing restricted muscle-building hormones into Australia and ordered to pay more than $9,870 in fines and court costs .

As a result of the controversy within Australia, Stallone banned the Australian media from attending the Los Angeles premiere of the film.

In a typed apology from Stallone, delivered to the court on May 15, Stallone said: 'I made a terrible mistake. Not because I was attempting to deceive anyone but I was simply ignorant of your official rules and I wish to sincerely apologize to the court and the Australian community for my breach of Australian customs law. ... I have never supported the use of illegal drugs or engaged in any illegal activities in my entire life. ...I wish to express my deepest remorse and again apologize for my actions.'


Television appearances

"The Contender" (2005) .... Presenter

"Las Vegas" (2005) .... Frank (2 episodes)

"Kojak" (1975) .... Detective Rick Daly (1 episode)

"Police Story" (1975) .... Caddo (1 episode)

External links

(Sylvester Stallone) official web site


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article about Sylvester Stallone.