Born on July 6, 1946, in New York City, Sylvester Stallone is one of the most popular Hollywood action stars of all time. Stallone had a difficult childhood. Both he and younger brother Frank were adversely affected by their parents’ hostile relationship, which later ended in divorce. Sylvester spent some time in foster care.
He ended up living with his mother and her second husband in Philadelphia. 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.
Stallone is well known for his Hollywood action roles. Two notable characters he has portrayed are the boxer Rocky Balboa and soldier John Rambo.
The film earned ten Academy Award nominations, including two for Best Actor and one for Best Original Screenplay. Rocky faced stiff competition in the Best Picture category from such films as Taxi Driver, All the President’s Men, and Network.
Proving to be the small film with a powerful punch, Rocky emerged victorious and won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Stallone wrote, directed, and starred in Rocky II (1979). He kept the franchise going a few years later with Rocky III (1982).
Stallone continued forward with a slew of macho character-themed films that met with a mixed reception from his fans. Cobra (1986) was a clumsy mess, Over the Top (1987) was equally mediocre, Rambo III (1988) saw Rambo take on the Russians in Afghanistan, and cop buddy film Tango & Cash (1989) just did not quite hit the mark, although it did feature a top-notch cast and there was chemistry between Stallone and co-star Kurt Russell.
Interestingly, Stallone then took a departure from the gung-ho steely characters he had been portraying to stack on a few extra pounds and tackle a more dramatically challenging role in the intriguing Cop Land (1997), also starring Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta.
It isn’t a classic of the genre, but Cop Land (1997) certainly surprised many critics with Stallone’s understated performance.
Stallone then lent his vocal talents to the animated adventure story Antz (1998), reprised the role made famous by Michael Caine in a terrible remake of Get Carter (2000), climbed back into a race car for Driven (2001), and guest-starred as the “Toymaker” in the third chapter of the immensely popular “Spy Kids” film series, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003).
In 1988 he was offered $4 million to do an advert for an American beer commercial under the condition that he cut his hair; when he refused they offered a further $1 million to go to the barber, he still refused. In 1997, Stallone married Irish model Jennifer Flavin and settled into second fatherhood with three daughters.
In 2007, Stallone was the subject of controversy when news broke that he was caught trying to smuggle 48 vials of the growth hormone Jintropin past customs officials while in Australia promoting “Rocky Balboa.”
After claiming to have had a legitimate medical condition for his use of the restricted drug, Stallone was forced to plead guilty to the charges and was fined nearly $10,000.