Sylvester Stallone: Italian of the Week

t278178-07Sylvester “Sly” Gardenzio Stallone was born on July 6, 1946, in New York City. His father, Frank Stallone, Sr., was born in Apulia, Italy, and immigrated to the United States in the early 1930s. When Sly was a young teenager, he moved to Philadelphia – a city he came to love. During his youth, he longed for the American dream and planned on becoming an actor. By 1971, he moved to New York City and took small acting roles hoping to find fame and fortune.

On March 24, 1975, Sly watched a boxing match that pitted Muhammad Ali against Chuck Wepner. Inspired by this fight and by boxer Rocky Marciano, he wrote the screenplay for a movie he titled Rocky in just three days. He pitched the script to different film companies but rejected any offer that did not allow him to play the lead character. Finally, two producers agreed, and Rocky was released in 1976. The movie was nominated for 10 Academy Awards (including Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor) and won the awards for Best Picture, Director and Editing. the success of Rocky, Sly became a household name and an archetypal action star. He continued to write screenplays and dabbled in directing. He’s best known for his roles in the Rocky series, the Rambo series, Cliffhanger, Demolition Man, Cop Land, The Expendables series, and Grudge Match. Most recently, Sly reprised his iconic role as Rocky Balboa in the critically acclaimed film Creed. For his work in this film, Sylvester won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and was nominated for an Oscar in the same category. Tune in to the Academy Awards on February 28th to see if Sly wins!

Sources: Deadline,, Variety, The New York Times, Washington Post

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