Sylvester Stallone Was Homeless and Sold His Dog to Make Rocky-Mostly Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
Sylvester Stallone sold his dog as a broke aspiring actor and later bought the dog back for $15,000.
It’s true that Sylvester Stallone sold his dog before starring in “Rocky,” but some parts of the young actor’s story have been sensationalized over the years.
The story goes that Stallone sold his dog outside a liquor store for $50 in the early 1970s because he was broke and nearly homeless. Then, once the actor managed to write and sell the script for “Rocky,” he bought the dog back for $15,000 so it could star in the upcoming movie.
The basic facts of the story are true. Stallone and his wife moved from New York to Hollywood with his bullmastiff, Butkus, in the mid 1970s, Stallone said in an interview:
“On our way from New York to Hollywood to seek our fortune, the heat became so intense that we had to pack old Butkus in cracked ice for two days. I promised him that if we survived, he’d someday get treated like a king. But I almost changed my mind when he practically got us killed in a wildlife preserve. An exceptionally large ostrich decided to peck him to death and attacked the car. Rather than being diplomatic, Butkus jumped out in a counter attack and I practically got slaughtered trying to separate them. By the time I got him back in the old car for a quick escape, the thing stalled and a herd of unhappy buffalo descended and attempted to upset the car with us in it. In the middle of all that confusion, Butkus jumped in the back seat and went to sleep.”
Then, six months before Stallone hit it big with “Rocky,” he sold his dog to a family to help make ends meet. Stallone eventually talked the family into giving Butkus back so that he could star in the movie, the actor explains:
“The other family had owned him for six months,” Stallone says. “They weren’t exactly thrilled, but I said, ‘Please.’ I said, ‘This dog belongs in the movie.’ He had suffered along with me for two years. I said, ‘Please let him have a shot in the movie.’”
Mercifully, the family relented and Stallone’s dog starred in two “Rocky” films. He even appears in the credits as Butkus Stallone.
So, it’s true that Stallone sold his dog before his big break. But Stallone didn’t sell his dog to an unknown man outside a liquor store, and there’s no proof that he paid 15,000 to get Butkus back, as the eRumor claims.
It’s not uncommon for the line between truth and fiction to blur for dramatic effect in the retelling of rags-to-riches stories like this one. Another example is the legend of Stallone writing and selling “Rocky,” which is also repeated in this eRumor.
It’s been widely reported that a fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner inspired Stallone to write the original script for “Rocky” in less than a day. Much of that is true, but again, parts of it have been fictionalized.
In a 1976 interview with a New York Times reporter, Stallone said it took him 10 months to write the script after watching the Ali-Wepner fight:
”I was watching the fight in a movie theater,” he said, ”and I said to myself, ‘Let’s talk about stifled ambition and broken dreams and people who sit on the curb looking at their dreams go down the drain.’ I thought about it for a month. That’s what I call my inspiration stage. Then I let it incubate for 10 months, the incubation stage. Then came the verification stage, when I wrote it in 3 1/2 days. I’d get up at 6 A.M. and write it by hand, with a Bic pen on lined notebook sheets of paper. Then my wife, Sasha, would type it. She kept saying, ‘You’ve gotta do it, you’ve gotta do it. Push it, Sly, go for broke.”’
So, the key points of this eRumor are true. But details have been added to Stallone’s “rags-to-riches story” over the years for dramatic effect.
Sylvester Stallone a Christian–Fiction!
One day Stallone was sitting at home watching a fight between Weppner and Ali. Weppner was getting absolutely slaughtered but kept holding his ground and coming back for more. This underdog was really fighting for it despite the slim chance he would even get close to winning.
This inspired Stallone to begin writing based on his inspiration from this fighter. He wrote for over 24 hours straight and after this time he had written the entire script to Rocky.
He began trying to sell the screenplay to many producers with enormous numbers of rejections. This went on for months.
He was so poor by this time that he decided he had to sell his best friend, his dog. Stallone waited outside of a local liquor store asking people if they would buy his dog. Eventually someone bought the dog for around $50. He was devastated to have to do this.
He kept pursuing this story that he had written. Eventually someone loved it and they agreed to do the movie. He was wrapped and told them that he wanted to play the part of Rocky.
They declined and told him he was a writer not an actor. Stallone disagreed and told them he was an actor. He declined their offer of over $100 000 despite his current poverty.
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 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 measly $25000 so they weren’t throwing their money away by having him as the lead role. He accepted. Then the first thing he did was go back to the liquor store to buy back his dog.