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50 Interesting Facts about Sylvester Stallone – The Famous Action Star of All Time!

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Sylvester Stallone – an American actor, screenwriter, director, is one of the most popular stars in the Hollywood, best known for portraying the Rocky Balboa character in the movie Rocky (1976). Here are 50 interesting facts about Stallone - the multi-million dollar action star.

  1. Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone, named after his parental grandfather, was born on 6 July, 1946 in New York and was nicknamed Sly Stallone.
  2. His parents - Frank Stallone, Sr. (Francesco Stallone) and Jacqueline “Jackie” Stallone got married in the year 1945 and lived together for 12 years with 2 children – Sylvester and Frank.
  3. Sylvester is famous for his snarling look and slightly slurred speech – a result of complications his mother faced during his birth, as obstetricians had to use two pairs of forceps, which accidentally severed a facial nerve causing paralysis in the lower left side of his face, including parts of his lip, tongue, and chin.
  4. He says about his personality that “I’m not handsome in the classical sense. The eyes droop, the mouth is crooked, the teeth aren’t straight, the voice sounds like a Mafioso pallbearer, but somehow it all works.”
  5. His father Frank Stallone Sr was an Italian-American hairdresser, who built a chain of saloons - J Frank’s Hair Stylists, famous for his only book “Stewart Lane” published in May 2010.
  6. His mother Jackie Stallone is an American astrologer, former dancer, and promoter of women’s wrestling.
  7. He had to spend most of his first five years in the care of foster homes, as his parents have constantly been on war and have largely ignored their children.
  8. Sly once said that his interest in acting came from his efforts to get the affection of those strangers who tried to raise him.
  9. During his childhood days, he had always dreamt of being a hero, and has even worn a superhero costume under his school uniform. He attended Notre Dame Academy and Lincoln High School in Philadelphia. Little Sly has once attempted to fly out of his bedroom too.
  10. His parent’s filed for divorce in the year 1957, when Sylvester was nine. He stayed with his father for few years. He had even more traumatic teen years, with being expelled from nearly 14 schools for his behavior problems.
  11. He moved to stay with his mother and her new husband, when he was 15 and was enrolled in Devereaux High School. He started lifting weights, practicing football, fencing, and discus.
  12. Sylvester received an athletic scholarship for the American College of Switzerland, following his graduation, where he even worked as a girls’ athletic coach, while studying. During his spare time, he starred in “Death of a Salesman” - Arthur Miller’s school production, which inspired him to pursue a career in acting. Later, he studied drama at the University of Miami.
  13. He auditioned frequently after moving to New York in 1969, while working a variety of jobs. He even resorted to starring a role in the soft core pornography feature film “The Party at Kitty and Stud’s” (1970), for which he was paid $200.
  14. He said that he had done the film out of desperation, after finding himself homeless for weeks. He said that he slept for nearly three weeks in the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City before he saw the casting notice for the film. “It was either do that movie or rob someone, because I was at the end – the very end – of my rope,” Sly said.
  15. The said film was later released as “The Italian Stallion” after he became famous action star through Rocky. The name “The Italian Stallion,” is also from a line in the movie Rocky.
  16. He also starred in the erotic off-Broadway stage play “Score” – 23 performances at the Martinique Theatre from October 28 – November 15, 1971. This was later made into a film by Radley Metzger.
  17. He appeared in a movie named “No Place to Hide,” in the 1970, which was re-cut and re-titled as “Rebel” featuring him as the star. This film was later re-edited and redubbed into an award winning parody – “A Man Called… Rainbo,” directed by David Casci and produced by Jeffrey Hilton in the 1990.
  18. His other first few film roles were minor including the psychological thriller “Klute” (1971), the comedy “Bananas” (1971), the Jack Lemmon film “The Prisoner of Second Avenue” (1975).
  19. His second starring role was in “The Lords of Flatbush,” for which he wrote the screenplay with Henry Winkler, in 1974. He also played a number of supporting roles in “Farewell,” “My Lovely”; “Capone”; and “Death Race 2000,” and also made a number guest appearances on the TV series “Police Story” and “Kojak.”
  20. Sly fell in love with the Pennsylvania actress Sasha Czack and married her on December 28, 1974. The couple moved to California to build their careers.
  21. In 1976, Sly gained worldwide fame with his starring role in the smash hit “Rocky” – an American sports drama film – written by Sylvester Stallone and directed by John G. Avildsen.
  22. The film was shot in just 28 days and was a sleeper hit that earned $225 million in global box office receipts. It was the highest grossing film of 1976 and won three Oscars – Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Film Editing.
  23. It is said that Sly saw the Muhammad Ali–Chuck Wepner fight on March 24, 1975, and took that as inspiration for the script. It took only 3 days for him to complete the script. He tried selling it multiple studios, but finalized after a substantial budget cut, as he refused to sell it unless he paid the lead role.
  24. The budget was just over $1 million, due to which, members of Stallone’s family played minor roles, including his father – Frank Stallone Sr, who rings the bell to signal the start and end of a round, his brother Frank Stallone plays a street corner singer, and his first wife, Sasha Czack was stills photographer.
  25. Sylvester has a younger brother Frank Stallone – an American actor, singer/guitarist and songwriter, famous for his song “Far from Over” for the 1983 film Staying Alive, along with two half-brothers and two half-sisters – Dante Alexander (son of Frank Stallone Sr & Kathleen Rhodes) – Bryan (son of Frank Stallone Sr & Rose Marie) – Carla (daughter of Frank Stallone Sr & Rose Marie) and Toni D’Alto, late actress known for “The Appointment,” (daughter of Jackie Stallone & her ex-husband Anthony Filiti).
  26. Before he made “Rocky,” he was so desperate for that he had to sell his pet dog for just $50. But within just a week, with the money from Rocky script, he got his pet back paying $3000. “I sold my bull-mastiff Butkus to a little person,” Stallone said. “You can’t use the word ‘dwarf’ anymore? Let’s just say a little person. I tied my dog up at the store with a sign that said a hundred bucks. I got $50 from this guy called Little Jimmy. When I sold the Rocky script, I went to see Little Jimmy and begged for the dog back. He lined up his children, ‘Oh my kids love the dog’. I said, ‘You’ve only had him for a f***ing week.’ He wanted to fight me and said he was gonna kill me - he was a crazy little person. I couldn’t fight him, they’d arrest me, so I offered to pay double. Anyway, $3000 and several threats later ...”
  27. However, Sly ended up casting Little Jimmy in “Rocky,” in his effort to get back his dog. “Do you remember in Rocky where the little guy goes, ‘Hey, did ya win?’ and I go, ‘What are you, deaf?’ and he goes, ‘No, I’m short.’ That’s him,” Stallone said.
  28. “Rocky” was nominated for 10 Academy Awards including Best Actor. He is the third man in history to receive the two nominations – Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor for the same film.
  29. The film is so popular that Philadelphia Museum of Art has steps named as Rocky Steps.
  30. Following Rocky’s success, Sly made is directorial debut in “Paradise Alley” (1978). He also starred in Norman Jewison’s “F.I.S.T.,” a social drama. In 1979, he wrote, directed and starred in the Rocky sequel - “Rocky II,” which grossed over $200 million, with “Rocky III” in 1982, “Rocky IV” in the year 1985 and “Rocky V” in 1990, garnering $270 million, $300 million and $190 million respectively at the box office.
  31. Sly and Sasha had two children - Sage Moonblood, born on May 5, 1976 in Los Angeles, California, was an American actor, film director, film producer, and film distributor, and Seargeoh Stallone, who was diagnosed as autistic in 1982.
  32. This stress broke the 11 years marriage and the duo separated on 1985’s Valentine’s Day – February 14. As divorce settlement Stallone paid $12 million to Sasha, which was one of the record payouts in the 1980’s.
  33. In 1982, he launched his next major franchise success with the action-war film “First Blood,” starring as Vietnam veteran John Rambo, with sequels “Rambo: First Blood Part II” and “Rambo III” following in 1985 and 1988 respectively.
  34. On December 15, 1985, he married Brigitte Nielsen, who starred with him in his films “Cobra” (1986) and “Rocky IV” (1985), in Beverly Hills, California. The marriage lasted for nearly 2 years and ended in a highly publicized divorce.
  35. Sly has starred as Rocky and Rambo in a total of ten films, for which he had undergone vigorous training – two workouts a day, six days a week, and has even met former Mr. Olympia Franco Columbu, to develop his appearance.
  36. He used to bench press around 385-400 lbs, back in the 1980s-1990s. He was severely injured that he has 160 stitches under his right arm. “I severely tore my right pectoral so under my arm I have 160 stitches and I had to have a window cut into my shoulder bone, and cable laced through the damage, and muscle pulled back to the bone where it was attached. That’s why I’m so vascular on one side. It might be interesting to note that I received this injury, I was stupid enough to get into a bench press contest with former Mr. Universe, Franco Columbo, who was considered one of the strongest men in the world.”
  37. Even for a scene in the “Rocky IV” movie, Sly asked Dolph Lundgren to punch him as hard as possible in the chest and ended up in the hospital. “Next thing I know, I was in intensive care at St. John’s Hospital for four days. It’s stupid!,” Stallone said.
  38. He married Jennifer Flavin - a former American model, on 17 May 1997 in a civil ceremony at The Dorchester Hotel in London, England, nearly 9 years after their first meeting at a Beverly Hills restaurant in 1988. The couple resides in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Beverly Crest, with their three daughters – Sophia Rose (1996), Sistine Rose (1998), and Scarlet Rose (2002). Sophia was born with a hole in her heart, which was cured, proving her to be a fighter, just like her famous dad.
  39. Sylvester calling his third marriage as “a fantastic revival” of his life, said “As you know, my first marriage didn’t go so well, though I have a relationship with my sons, but this marriage has been a second beginning. I used to think my career was number one, so I was gone nine months out of a year, but I learned the hard way that the most important thing is that you start at home and then comes the career.”
  40. Another franchise added to the list of Stallone’s is the “The Expendables,” a 2010 American ensemble action film written by David Callaham and Sylvester Stallone, and directed by Stallone, – with two sequels – “The Expendables 2” and “The Expendables 3” in the year 2012 and 2014. The franchise was a commercial success.
  41. Sly once again injured himself while filming a fight scene with actor Steve Austin in “The Expendables,” as he broke his neck, which actually required a metal plate insertion.
  42. It is on the screen of “The Expendables” that Sylvester displayed his first tattoo - a portrait of Flavin, followed by three roses representing their daughters.
  43. Apart from these franchises, he has played a number of roles portraying different characters including a tough cop to Champ Car Champion to former prosecutor to a paid assassin.
  44. He has even made a cameo appearance in an Indian movie (Hindi) – “Kambakkht Ishq” as himself in the year 2009.
  45. Sly even reportedly turned down certain roles that made his fellow actors famous, including the role of John McClane in “Die Hard” – Bruce Willis, “Superman” – Christopher Reeve. For the role of Beverly Hills Cop, he was said to be the first choice instead of Eddie Murphy. Even in the “Pretty Woman’ movie, he was asked to be wealthy womanizer, but Richard Gere stepped in.
  46. He once said that he regrets that he didn’t expand his acting career. “It often sounds pathetic when you hear actors say that they feel sorry for themselves - I’ve been very very blessed, believe me - but if I had to do it all over again I could have done both. You can do commercial films and then do small, independent, acting films. Bruce Willis has done it well, so it’s possible. I wish I had done it, but that wasn’t the style back then. You were either a studio actor or an independent actor. So I regret that,” in his words.
  47. Sylvester has a flair for oil painting and has been creating paintings for more than 50 years. He considers Leonardo Da Vinci as his personal hero. His first exhibition was held in Switzerland in 2011. His works are said to fetch Rocky-like prices, with just 2 pieces racking up nearly $100K.
  48. Since 1980s, Sly is a boxing promoter and his company, “Tiger Eye Productions”, signed world champion boxers Sean O’Grady and Aaron Pryor.
  49. On July 13, 2012, Sage Stallone, his first son, was found dead in his Studio City, Los Angeles home. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said that Sage died of a heart attack, caused by atherosclerotic coronary artery disease.
  50. Sly is likely having a good number of films in the pipeline, including Creed - the seventh Rocky film and a spin-off from the Rocky film series that is scheduled to be hit the theaters on November 25, 2015 in the United States.

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