The sad story of Sylvester Stallone and his dog Butkus before succeeding with ‘Rocky’

Sylvester Stallone He is a legend in Hollywood. About to turn 70 on July 6, the actor is in the news these days because he does not stop receiving awards for his work in Creed: The Legend of Rocky, the seventh installment of the saga about the most famous boxer in the history of cinema that opens in Spanish theaters this January 29. First it was at the Golden Globes, where he took the stage rising as best supporting actor, then they have been the Critics’ Choice those who have surrendered to the interpreter and, among the awards that are coming in the coming weeks, the Oscar would be the most wonderful climax.

In total, 40 years have passed since Rocky would launch him to stardom. But before touching the sky with this film, Sylvester Stallone suffered, and a lot, to gain a foothold in the cinema. In 1975, with just over a hundred dollars in the bank and married to Sasha Czach, he was used to being turned down by casting agencies. His dream was to be a first class actor and he did not want to dedicate himself to anything else, despite the fact that his wife insisted on looking for a stable job. His most faithful friend was his dog Butkus, a bullmastiff that he could barely feed. When things got really bad and Stallone even went so far as to steal his wife’s jewelry to sell, he had no choice but to get rid of his pet. He went to a liquor store and a stranger offered him $25, a meager amount of money that he desperately accepted. The interpreter has assured on more than one occasion that this was one of the worst days of his life and that he left the premises in tears.

Stallone and Butkus in a scene from ‘Rocky’

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Two weeks later, Stallone went to see a fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner in Ohio. Wepner, nicknamed The Bleeder of Bayonne, was a 37-year-old boxer, without any important title behind him and in the twilight of his career, who resisted until the fifteenth and final round, leaving all the attendees with their mouths open. The referee gave Ali the victory by technical KO, but the moral winner of the fight was really Chuck, who had the opportunity to show the world that a ‘loser’ like him could bring to the canvas the considered best boxer of all time . This feat inspired the actor to write the character of Rocky.

He had the script ready in just over twenty hours, hardly spending any time sleeping. This is how the story of the famous “Italian stallion” was born. The next step was to sell the script. After knocking on some doors without success, producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff saw potential in Stallone’s words and offered him $125,000 for his story, a not insignificant amount given his precarious financial situation. However, Sly wanted to star in the movie at all costs and did not give up his efforts to achieve it. The producers even came up with a figure of $350,000 for the text, but they didn’t even want to hear about the possibility of considering Stallone as Rocky . They preferred weighty names like Robert Redford or Ryan O’Neill, true stars of the time. The actor’s stubbornness gave them no respite and in the end they agreed to give him the main role in exchange for paying him only $35,000 for his script.

With money in hand and high spirits to have his dream closer than ever, the first thing Stallone did was try to get his beloved Butkus back again. He went back to the liquor store and waited three days for the man to whom he had sold the dog at a loss. He explained to her the reasons why he had gotten rid of it and begged her to resell it. The individual’s heart was not softened after hearing the emotional story. Rather the complete opposite. He flatly refused and did not release the animal until Stallone put $15,000 in his hand. Without a doubt, a guy who knew how to do business. And Sylvester happy – despite paying a more than generous sum – to have his precious dog back again.

Butkus also had his minutes of glory both in Rocky like in Rocky IIIacting as the boxer’s mascot (in the credits he appears as Butkus Stallone).

In fact, to lower production costs, some relatives of slylike his father and brother, worked on the film directed by John G. Avildsen. Rocky It premiered on November 21, 1976 to great critical and box office success and won three of the ten Oscars for which it was nominated (film, director and editing).

Butkus, who was by his owner’s side through his lowest moments and also when he rose to fame, died of a heart attack in 1981.

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The sad story of Sylvester Stallone and his dog Butkus before succeeding with ‘Rocky’

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