“It ain’t over till it’s over!” Remember this famous line? It’s by one of the most popular action stars in cinematic history Oscar nominee Sylvester Stallone, who is best known for portraying boxer Rocky Balboa and Vietnam War veteran John Rambo.
Actor, writer, director and producer Stallone was born on July 6, 1946, in New York City. Boxer “Rocky Balboa” and Vietnam War veteran “John Rambo” had a difficult childhood. Spending his initial years in foster care, he and his brother went through immense emotional upheavals as their parents went for a messy divorce. Stallone had also been expelled from several schools as well and he struggled academically to pursue his studies.
When Stallone was around five years old, his father moved the family to Washington DC where he started his own beauty parlour chain. Stallone lived in Maryland for years, staying with his father after his parents’ divorce in 1957.
A few years later, Stallone went to live with his mother and her second husband in Philadelphia. There he attended a special high school for troubled youth. After graduation, Stallone eventually went on to college. First, he attended the American College in Switzerland, where he studied drama. Stallone then went to the University of Miami, again choosing to focus on the dramatic arts. He left school before completing his degree to move to New York City to pursue an acting career.
He earned his first role in a soft-core pornography film, ‘The Party at Kitty and Stud’s’, in 1970. Later in life, Stallone claimed that he did the film out of desperation because he needed the money. The ‘Rebel’ in the same year made him a national star.
He also starred in the off-Broadway stage piece, ‘Score’, which ran for 23 performances in 1971. The same was later made into a film by Radley Metzger. He also appeared in Woody Allen’s ‘Bananas’ and the thriller ‘Klute’ as an extra.
The year 1976 brought with it a lot of promise and hope for Stallone as he starred in his first breakthrough film, ‘Rocky’, an action-drama feature, for which he also wrote the script. The movie is considered one of his most commercially successful movies till date. He made his directorial debut in 1978 for the film, ‘Paradise Alley’. In 1979, he wrote and starred in the sequel of ‘Rocky’ titled ‘Rocky II’, which also went on to become a sleeper hit. Two years later, he starred in ‘Escape to Victory’ and ‘Nighthawks’.
In 1977, Stallone was nominated for two Academy Awards for ‘Rocky’, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor. He became the third man in history to receive these two nominations for the same film, after Charles Chaplin and Orson Welles. He received critical raves, as well as his first Golden Globe Award and third Academy Award nomination, for reprising his role of Rocky Balboa in Ryan Coogler’s 2015 film Creed.
After the success of ‘Rocky’, he launched another action venture, starring as the Vietnam War veteran, ‘John Rambo’ in the film, ‘First Blood’ in 1982. This went on to become both a critical and profitable hit at the box-office. However the sequels for the film, ‘Rambo: First Blood Part II’ and ‘Rambo III’, were met with much less success. He appeared in a small cameo in the Bollywood film, ‘Kambakkht Ishq’ opposite Kareena Kapoor and Akshay Kumar in 2009. The next year, he starred in one of the biggest hits of the year, ‘The Expendables’.
Sylvester Stallone has married three times. He married Sasha Czack in 1974 and had two sons with her. The couple divorced almost a decade later. He then married Brigitte Nielsen on December 15, 1985 and divorced her two years later in 1987. In 1997, he married Jennifer Flavin, with whom he has three daughters.
Due to the demanding nature of his roles, he is known to have suffered countless injuries throughout his career including a broken neck, which required him to get a metal plate inserted. His trademark droopy visage was the result of a forceps accident at the time of his birth. A nerve was severed in the accident, which also left him with slurred speech.
This year, Hollywood’s tough guy, thanks to his range of action hero blockbusters, is celebrating his 70th birthday on Wednesday. He looked elated at the Los Angeles International Airport as he strolled alongside Jennifer Flavin, 47, and their pretty daughters Sophia, Sistene, and Scarlet.
Happy 70th birthday ‘Rambo’!