I watched the movie rocky earlier this morning. While watching the movie my husband told me a little about Sylvester’s struggle before his first big success ‘Rocky’. I really love to hear stories like this one, however this incredible story is rather inspirational. I have never thought much of Sylvester Stallone, but when I read more about his life and struggle, I was truly amazed.
His story is a great example of persistence and dedication that finally results to his well deserved success. I will give a brief outline of the Sylvester Stallone’s story as best as I can from what I have gathered through my reading about him.
Not a lot of people know this, but due to complications during his birth, the lower left side of his face was paralyzed, including parts of his tongue, lip and chin. This incident at birth is the cause of his trademark snarling look and his slurred manner of speaking.
For the first five years of his life, Sylvester Stallone lived in an area of New York known as Hell’s Kitchen. He spent most of his childhood at foster homes as his parents were going through separation.
Although he was eventually reunited with them, his troubled past and his oddly paralyzed face made him an outcast among his classmates. He often received suspensions for his frequent fights, poor grades, and behavior problems.
The ignoble level in his life
His adult life was just as difficult. Hard times and a lack of income resulted in the actor getting evicted from his apartment & he was forced to live on the streets for a few weeks.
Eventually he came across a casting call for a soft core pornography film; out of desperation he attended the casting call. For two days of filming the actor received $200.
According to Stallone “it was either, do that movie or rob someone, because I was at the end, the very end of my rope”.
After getting back on his feet he was eventually able to attend college. However, deciding this path was not for him, he left before graduation and moved to New York to pursue an acting career.
He tried out for nearly each and every casting call he could, and contacted as many casting agents as he could find, with no victory. After numerous failed attempts he made the decision to try his hand at writing various screenplays.
After numerous failed attempts he found himself broke once again. In an act of desperation he waited outside of a local liquor store asking people if they would buy his dog; his closest and best friend. In the end someone bought his dog for roughly $50. Stallone went home and wept bitterly after that. He was extremely devastated that his life had come to that point.
With options few and far between he began to run out of money. By now he was desperate to get a job but he still was not ready to settle on just any job. He wanted to be an actor and that was what he had his mind set on.
His Journey to Success
In 1975, Stallone saw the Muhammad Ali vs. Chuck Wepner fight. That night Stallone went home and started writing, and in three days he had written the script for Rocky. He tried to sell the script with the intention of playing the lead role. However, months passed with enormous rejections from many producers, until eventually someone loved it and they agreed to do the movie.
As poor as he was, Stallone turned down the great sums of money he was offered because he insisted that he must play the lead role in the film. Studios were not willing to cast him in this role because he was completely unknown, and they wanted a well-known star. They told him he was not an actor but a writer.
Stallone had been offered $100,000 for his script as long as someone else could take the lead role, but he refused. He was so sure in his heart that this part was meant for him, and him alone that he refused to compromise.
A couple of weeks later they contacted him with an even higher offer and Stallone still insisted that he play Rocky. They once again declined. Was he nuts? I mean the man was dirt poor, he could barely even eat.
The offer kept rising just so he would sell them the film without playing the part. The price eventually got to around $400 000 and still he declined. He was certain that he was actor and that was it, there was no compromise.
Eventually they offered Stallone a petty $25000 so they weren’t throwing their money away by having him play the lead role. He accepted. Then the first thing he did was go back to the liquor store to buy back his dog.
He waited 3 days for the guy to come by and finally there he was with his dog. He offered the guy $150 to buy back the dog, the man declined. The offer kept rising, but again, Stallone knew his outcome and kept pursuing his goal.
It ended up costing him $3000 and a part in the movie to buy back his dog. The guy and the dog are in Rocky. Stallone said in an interview “I tied my dog up at the store with a sign that said
a hundred bucks. I got $50 from this guy called
“When I sold the ‘Rocky’ script, I went to see Little
Jimmy and begged for the dog back. He lined up
his children, ‘Oh my kids love the dog’. I said,
‘You’ve only had him for a f***ing week.’
“He wanted to fight me and saidi he was gonna kill
me – he was a crazy little person. I couldn’t fight
him – they’d arrest me – so I offered to pay double.
Anyway, $3,000 and several threats later…”.
As you all probably know, Rocky became a worldwide commercial success and Oscar winner. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards in all, and went on to win the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Film Editing.
The sequel, Rocky II was released a few years later and also became a major success. The film series has grossed more than $1.25 billion at the worldwide box office.
How’s that for a story of triumph?
It shows that you have all the resources you need to overcome any obstacle and achieve any aim you have in life, no matter what your age, background, colour or gender is. Just ask Sylvester Stallone, he persisted and knew his outcome and look where he is today, he is living an exuberant life.
Be a go getter….. And live your Dreams !
Links I referred to know more about his life: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvester_Stallone,