Famous Failure – Sylvester Stallone

Born on 6th July 1946 in Clinton, New York City, Sylvester Enzio Stallone is famous as an American actor, director, screenwriter, and producer. He is the elder son of Francesco “Frank” Stallone, a hairdresser and a beautician, and Jacqueline Stallone who was known to be an astrologer, dancer, and upholder of women’s wrestling. In 1930 the family moved to the U.S., while his American mother is of French (from Brittany) and Ukrainian-Jewish descent.

When he was born, the lower left side of his face was paralyzed (including parts of his lip, tongue, and chin), an accident which gave him his signature snarling look and slurred speech. he was given a brief uncredited role of a restaurant customer, in the sports drama, Downhill Racer (1969). He could be seen sitting at a table, near stars Robert Redford and Camilla Sparv.

Once in one’s life, for one mortal moment, one must make a grab for immortality; if not, one has not lived.

Stallone was involved in odd jobs around the time, a cleaner at a zoo, and an usher, where he scalped tickets, but he was caught by the manager and fired. Stallone bathed wearing his clothes and continued with auditions, but never got anywhere.

In 1972, Stallone was about to give up on acting, due to a lack of suitable jobs. A personal disappointment was failing him to earn himself a spot as an Italian extra in the most massive hits of 1972 – The Godfather. He could not understand why he was rejected. Instead, he was downgraded to a background role in another Hollywood hit, What’s Up, Doc?  with Barbra Streisand. Stallone was hardly visible in the two appearances.

In 1979 he worked as a writer, director, and star in Rocky II (replacing John G. Avildsen, who was awarded for directing the first film). The sequel became a major success, grossing US $200 million.

The film ‘staying alive’ opened with the biggest weekend for a musical film ever (at the time) with a gross of $12,146,143 from 1,660 screens. Overall, the film grossed approximately $65 million at the US box office against its $22 million budget. Worldwide it grossed $127 million. Though the US box office collection was remarkably less than  $139.5 million earned by Saturday Night Fever, even then the film ranked in the top ten most financially successful films of 1983.

I really am a manifestation of my own fantasy

Known for physically gruelling roles and his readiness to do the majority of his stunts, Stallone has suffered numerous injuries during his acting career. For a shot in Rocky IV, he told Dolph Lundgren to punch him hard in the chest. While shooting a fight scene with Steve Austin for The Expendables, he broke his neck, which required the insertion of a metal plate. During the shoot of Escape to Victory, one of his fingers got broken trying to save a penalty kick from Pelé.

He faced many failures throughout his life which in the end proved to be his preparation for becoming a man of success as he is known today. Stallone was awarded precious awards in his career: Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (1984), International Boxing Hall of Fame (Class of 2010) and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture (2015).

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