Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone (/stəˈloʊn/; Italian pronunciation: [(ɡarˈdɛntsjo) stalˈloːne]; born July 6, 1946), nicknamed Sly Stallone, is an American actor, screenwriter and film director. Stallone is well known for his Hollywood action roles, particularly boxer Rocky Balboa, the title character of the Rocky series from 1976 to 2008, and soldier John Rambo from the Rambo saga, which ran from 1982 to 2008. He wrote every episode of the two franchises, and directed some of their installments as well.
Stallone directed, co-wrote and starred in the 2010 ensemble action film The Expendables, alongside many other distinguished actors. He reprised his role of Barney Ross in two more Expendables films, The Expendables 2 in 2012 and The Expendables 3 in 2014, although he did not return to direct the two sequels.
Stallone’s film Rocky was inducted into the National Film Registry as well as having its film props placed in the Smithsonian Museum. Stallone’s use of the front entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the Rocky series led the area to be nicknamed the Rocky Steps. Philadelphia has a statue of his Rocky character placed permanently near the museum. It was announced on December 7, 2010 that Stallone was voted into boxing’s Hall of Fame.
In 1977, Stallone was nominated for two Academy Awards for Rocky, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor. He became the third man in history to receive these two nominations for the same film, after Charles Chaplin and Orson Welles and followed by Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, Billy Bob Thornton, Matt Damon and Roberto Benigni.
Sylvester Stallone was born Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone in New York City, the elder son of Frank Stallone, Sr. (1919–2011), a hairdresser and beautician, and Jacqueline “Jackie” Stallone (née Labofish), an astrologer, former dancer, and promoter of women’s wrestling. Stallone’s father was born in Gioia del Colle, Apulia, Italy, and emigrated to the United States in the 1930s. Stallone’s mother is of half French (from Brittany) and half Ukrainian (from Odessa) descent. His younger brother is actor and musician Frank Stallone.
Complications his mother suffered during labor forced her obstetricians to use two pairs of forceps during his birth; misuse of these accidentally severed a nerve and caused paralysis in parts of Stallone’s face. As a result, the lower left side of his face is paralyzed – including parts of his lip, tongue, and chin – an accident which has given Stallone his snarling look and slightly slurred speech. Stallone was baptized Catholic. Around the age of 4, Stallone was flat-footed and put in a tap dancing school by his mother. His father moved the family to Washington, D.C. in the early 1950s, where he opened a beauty school. His mother opened a women’s gymnasium called Barbella’s in 1954. Stallone’s parents divorced when Sylvester was nine, and he eventually lived with his mother. When Stallone was 16, he scored poorly in school and his mother got him a summer job at her beauty salon. He attended Notre Dame Academy and Lincoln High School in Philadelphia. He attended Charlotte Hall Military Academy prior to attending Miami Dade College and the University of Miami.
Stallone has been married three times. At age 28, on December 28, 1974, he married Sasha Czack from Pennsylvania. The couple had two sons, Sage Moonblood (May 5, 1976 – July 13, 2012), who died of heart disease at age 36, in July 2012, and Seargeoh (b. 1979). His younger son was diagnosed with autism at an early age. The couple divorced on February 14, 1985. He married model and actress Brigitte Nielsen, on December 15, 1985, in Beverly Hills, California. Stallone and Nielsen’s marriage, which lasted two years, and their subsequent divorce, were highly publicized by the tabloid press. In May 1997, Stallone married Jennifer Flavin, with whom he has three daughters: Sophia, Sistene, and Scarlet.
After Stallone’s request that his acting and life experiences be accepted in exchange for his remaining, needed college credits to graduate, he was granted a Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA) degree by the president of the University of Miami, in 1999.
In 2007, customs officials in Australia discovered 48 vials of the synthetic human growth hormone Jintropin in his luggage.
His 48-year-old half-sister, Toni Ann Filiti, died of lung cancer on Sunday, August 26, 2012, six weeks after the death of his son, Sage. She died at their mother Jackie Stallone’s Santa Monica home, after choosing to leave UCLA hospital.
In the decade of 2010, Stallone started sporting tattoos on his shoulders, chest, and upper back to cover the scars he had accumulated over the years in action films. The first tattoo he had was a portrait of Flavin, followed by three roses representing their daughters. He first displayed these tattoos on-screen in The Expendables.