Sylvester Stallone, born Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone on July 6, 1946, is an American actor and filmmaker. He initially struggled as an actor when he first arrived in New York City in 1969 and later in Hollywood in 1974. However, he gained critical acclaim for his co-starring role as Stanley Rosiello in The Lords of Flatbush.
Afterward, Stallone gradually found work as an extra or side character in films with larger budgets. But his breakthrough came in 1976 when he achieved both critical and commercial success as an actor and screenwriter for his role as boxer Rocky Balboa in the first Rocky film. He continued to write the screenplays for the subsequent Rocky films (1976–present) in which Rocky, an underdog boxer, fights brutal opponents and becomes the world heavyweight champion twice.
In 1977, Stallone became the third actor in cinema history to receive nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor at the Academy Awards. The film Rocky was even included in the National Film Registry, with props from the movie displayed in the Smithsonian Museum. Stallone’s portrayal of Rocky climbing the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art led to the nickname “Rocky Steps” for the area. Philadelphia even erected a statue of Rocky near the museum, and Stallone was later inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Until 1982, Stallone’s films outside of the Rocky sequels did not achieve significant box office success, and none garnered the same critical acclaim as the first Rocky. However, this changed with the action film First Blood in which Stallone played the PTSD-plagued soldier John Rambo. Although the film was originally based on a novel by David Morell, Stallone made significant changes to the script during production. He went on to portray Rambo in a total of five films (1982–2019). From the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, Stallone became one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors by starring in commercially successful action films, although they were generally criticized by reviewers. Some of these films include Cobra, Tango and Cash, Cliffhanger, the relatively well-received Demolition Man, and The Specialist.
Stallone’s popularity declined in the early 2000s but made a comeback in 2006 with the sixth installment of the Rocky series and in 2008 with the fourth Rambo film. In the 2010s, he launched The Expendables film series (2010–2014), where he played the lead role as the mercenary Barney Ross. He also starred in the successful film Escape Plan in 2013 and its sequels. Additionally, Stallone returned to the Rocky series in 2015 with Creed, a spin-off film focusing on Adonis “Donnie” Creed, played by Michael B. Jordan, who portrays the son of the late boxer Apollo Creed. Stallone received praise for reprising his role as Rocky, winning his first Golden Globe award for the first Creed film and earning his third Oscar nomination, four decades after his initial nomination for the same role.
Every time I’ve failed, people had me out for the count, but I always come back.Sylvester Stallone