Rocky star dies as tributes pour in for Oscar-nominated movie star: ‘I’ll miss you very much’
Beloved Rocky actor Burt Young has died aged 83.
Most famous for portraying the fierce older brother of Adrian Pennino, Paulie, in the sports drama franchise opposite Sylvester Stallone, his passing was confirmed to The New York Times by his daughter Anne Morea Steingieser – cause of death is unknown.
Born Gerald Tommaso DeLouise, Burt served in the US Marine Corps between 1957 and 1959, where he took up boxing for a reported 34 fights. He was eventually trained by the late Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.
The pinnacle of his Hollywood career came in 1976, when Burt was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar – losing out to the late Jason Robards Jr for All the President's Men.
His other credits include the classic crime-mystery Chinatown, M*A*S*H, The Gambler, Once Upon a Time in America, Mickey Blue Eyes, The Sopranos, and Russian Doll.
His Rocky co-star Sylvester, 77, reacted to the news of Burt's death over on Instagram.
Next to a black-and-white image of the pair on set, he wrote: "To my Dear Friend, BURT YOUNG, you were an incredible man and artist, I and the World will miss you very much… RIP."
This inspired a wave of tributes in the comment column, as fans added: "RIP Pauly! An amazing actor. You will be missed Burt!", "Heartbreaking indeed and he will be missed but never forgotten. May he rest in peace", "RIP PAULIE THE GOAT!!!!!!!!!!! He showed people what Real class is!" and "So sorry to hear this. A truly exceptional actor!!"
Another three condolences read: "What a sad day for all of us. We’re so sorry to hear about the loss of your dear friend. He is irreplaceable & unforgettable", "Oh no. A legend has passed. Very sorry to hear this. Can’t believe this. RIP" and "Rocky taught me that a friend can be imperfect, moody and stubborn, but a good friend never abandons us, like Paulie. Thanks for being part of my childhood, Burt!"
Back in 2016, Rambo star Sylvester celebrated his pal's Lifetime Achievement Award at the Long Beach International Film Festival.
Up on stage, he shared: "I was very lucky to meet Burt Young in 1975, because this man is an anomaly, incredibly strong, brave, worldly, intelligent, artistic and insightful. I guess that would certify him as a Renaissance man.
"He brought such passion to the character… I thought he should have won an Oscar. It was amazing. I just wanted to be the guy lucky enough to capture the essence of Burt Young on film. And I believe we did that for many years."
Meanwhile, Burt himself previously opened up about landing the iconic part of Paulie.
"Sylvester comes to me. He introduces himself. 'You gotta do this part.' I said, 'I'm gonna do it,' and he lit up like a pumpkin," he told Theater Mania. "We've been very close ever since. He's a friendly guy, Sylvester. Very intelligent, very quick."
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