In the year 1975, a young actor sleeping in a New York bus terminal was forced to sell his dog for $25 in order to buy some food. A year later, he was already the protagonist of a movie that he wrote himself and that catapulted him to become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood… How did he do it?
The inspiring story of Sylvester Stallone
The protagonist of this story is Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone, better known as Sylvester Stallone, who was born on July 6, 1946, in New York.
His story is worthy of an inspirational movie. During her delivery, her mother suffered complications and accidentally cut a nerve in her face due to the misuse of forceps when extracting it from her. As a consequence, she would suffer from paralysis in the lower left part of her face. His lips and tongue were also affected and this caused her to have a very particular way of speaking. This problem almost prevented him from developing his acting career, but thanks to his persistence he remained steadfast in his goal.
As a child I used to have a lot of problems at school; however, he stood out for his passion for the sport.
His beginnings in acting
In 1970, he discovered that his great dream was to study acting, but his parents did not have sufficient resources to support him, so he even participated in an adult film to pay for his studies.
With that money, he moved to New York and managed to get a series of supporting and extra roles in a few movies, but soon casting agencies began to reject him for his lack of acting talent.
In 1975, he only had the company of his friend Butkus, a bullmastiff dog that he could barely feed. Despite participating in every casting held in the city, he was always rejected. Since he could not afford to pay the rent for his apartment, he was evicted and forced to sleep for three weeks in the Port Authority bus terminal in New York.
“It was the darkest time of my life. It was do that or rob someone.” Stallone said.
Desperation led him to have to sell his dog. With tears in his eyes, he stopped in front of a decanter ready to give up his faithful friend for a few dollars. Someone passing by offered him $25. With no other option, he accepted them and bought some food with them. The actor has assured on more than one occasion that this was the worst day of his life.
While he continued to search for an opportunity in the acting world, he took various part-time jobs that allowed him to survive. At this stage in his life, he worked as an usher in the theater, cutting off fish heads in markets and even cleaning lion cages at the zoo.
One afternoon, Stallone watched the fight between heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner, an unknown elderly boxer. In the ninth round, Ali is thrown to the canvas, something that hasn’t happened in a long time. Chuck held out until the ninth round and was lost by KO. This fight inspired Stallone to write a movie.
The Birth of a Legend: Rocky
Full of motivation, he locked himself up for three days in an apartment that he had been able to rent for only one month; That’s how, barely eating or sleeping, he managed to finish the script for a boxing movie that he named “Rocky”.
All his hopes were placed on that script that he tried to sell for months without success because, as a condition, he asked that he be the one to play the main character.
After a long search, the script was of interest to two producers who offered him the figure of $125,000, a fairly considerable amount considering the economic situation that Stallone was going through. However, he turned down the offer because he would not be considered for the lead role. The producers came to offer him the figure of $350,000 in exchange for allowing them to hire a renowned actor to play Rocky, but he again refused, knowing that this was his only chance to achieve his dream.
After some negotiation, they agreed to cast Stallone in the lead role, but would only pay him $35,000 for the script. He accepted and, once he received the money, the first thing he did was look for the person to whom he had sold his dog to get it back. The subject did not want to give it back, so he made him an irresistible offer of $15,000 and managed to convince him. His happiness at getting his beloved dog back was priceless. As a curious fact, Butkus would have an appearance in the first two films of the Rocky saga.
The film took just a few weeks to produce and cost a little over $1 million. It was shot in Philadelphia, and due to the low budget, Stallone‘s father, brother, and wife were cast in small roles to save money.
In 1976, Rocky was released, a film that had a positive reception from critics and managed to raise more than 200 million dollars at the box office, in addition to winning three Oscars, including the “Oscar for Best Picture”…
The success of Rocky greatly boosted Stallone‘s acting career, making him one of the biggest Hollywood action movie stars of the 1980s and 1990s. To date, there have been 5 Rocky sequels and 2 spin-offs. Rocky and Rambo are two of his best-known characters. He has acted in more than 50 films, has been nominated several times for the Oscars, and won the Golden Globe for “best supporting actor” in 2015.
The hardest blow in the life of Sylvester Stallone
His acting career declined in the 2000s when he starred in some unsuccessful movies. Not even the latest movies of his most famous characters had a good reception. This made Stallone reinvent himself and resume his career as a writer, producer, and film director. Thus, he wrote great sagas like “The Expendables”, which was a tremendous box office success thanks to the fact that it brought together great action stars of the 80s, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Chuck Norris, among others.
In 2012, Sylvester suffers one of the hardest blows of his life. His son From him Sage Stallone died at the age of 36 due to a heart attack, a fact that left him devastated and would lead him to rethink his life, prompting him to participate in charity events and collaborate with various philanthropic efforts. This unfortunate event would also inspire him to produce “Creed”, a Rocky spin-off about the son of Apollo Creed, a box office success for which he received his Golden Globe for Best Actor and an Academy Award nomination in the same category.
Currently, Stallone is 75 years old, has a personal fortune of more than 400 million dollars, and has participated in more than 60 films, many of them remembered with special affection by the biggest fans of action movies.
Thus we conclude the inspiring story of Sylvester Stallone. While most people succumb to rejection and stop fighting for their dreams, he believed in his ideas and talents enough to keep pushing until he got the much-needed opportunity, thus launching a prosperous career that would lead him to become one of the richest, most successful and most acclaimed actors in the world. In his own words:
“I am not the most talented person, nor the most beautiful, nor the most intelligent; but, I have been successful because I have not given up and I have tried again and again.”