You know him as Rocky and Rambo. But put aside Sylvester Stallone's signature characters, how well do you know the man behind the muscle? On his 71th birthday today, we bring you 10 interesting facts about the Hollywood action star that you might not have known
1. Sylvester Stallone's trademark droopy eyes and slurred speech are the result of paralysis on the left side of his face caused by a facial nerve being accidentally severed at the time of his birth.
2. Ridden with poverty, Stallone did odd jobs to make ends meet. He cleaned up lions' cages at the Central Park Zoo in New York and worked as an usher at a movie theatre.
3. A broke Stallone did a soft-core porn film titled 'The Party at Kitty and Stud's' in 1970. He shot for the film in two days and was paid $200. Stallone, who was homeless and slept at a bus terminal in New York for three weeks, used the money to get out of the bus station. After Stallone made it big with 'Rocky' (1976), the film was re-released under the name 'The Italian Stallion' to cash in on his success.
Sylvester Stallone in a still from the soft-core porn flick 'The Party at Kitty and Stud's'. Pic/YouTube
'The Party at Kitty and Stud's' was re-released as 'The Italian Stallion' to cash in on Sylvester Stallone's success after 'Rocky'. Pic/YouTube
4. In his early years, Stallone was so desperate for cash that he sold his dog, Butkus, for $50 dollars to a guy called Little Jimmy. After selling his 'Rocky' script, he bought his dog back for $3000.
5. The bullmastiff in 'Rocky' is Sylvester Stallone's real dog Butkus. Stallone also cast Little Jimmy in a bit part in 'Rocky'.
Sylvester Stallone with his dog Butkus in a still from 'Rocky'. Pic/YouTube
6. The story of a small-time boxer Rocky Balboa getting a chance to fight the heavy-weight champion Apollo Creed was inspired from the bout between Muhammad Ali and a little known Chuck Wepner. 'Rocky' went on to earn 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay nominations for Stallone. The film went on to win the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Film Editing.
7. Stallone has suffered several injuries as a result of doing most of his stunts on his own. For a scene in 'Rocky IV', Stallone asked Dolph Lundgren to punch him as hard as he could. Stallone ended up being hospitalised for four days. While shooting a fight scene in 'The Expendables', he broke his neck, which required the insertion of a metal plate.
Sylvester Stallone at the Italian premiere of his film 'Rocky Balboa' at Auditorium Conciliazione on January 9, 2007, in Rome. Pic/AFP
8. Sylvester Stallone joined the likes of Mike Tyson as an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010.
9. Sylvester Stallone likes to oil paint in his free time and is inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci. The actor presented his works, painted since 1975 till date, at an exhibition in a museum in Nice, France.
Visitors stand in front of the painting 'Champion Due' by Sylvester Stallone during the art exhibition 'Sylvester Stallone Painting From 1975 Until Today' at the Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg on October 27, 2013. Pic/AFP
10. Stallone started sporting tattoos to cover the scars he had accumulated over the years. The first tattoo he had was a portrait of his third wife Jennifer Flavin, followed by three roses representing their daughters Sophia, Sistene and Scarlet. He first displayed his tattoos on-screen in 'The Expendables'.
Sylvester Stallone flaunts his tattoos in ‘The Expendables’. Pic/YouTube