10 Things You May Not Know About Sly Stallone

From being expelled 14 times to cleaning lion cages at Central Park Zoo, there's a lot to learn about Sly Stallone.

If you’re a fan of Rocky, Rambo and all things Sylvester Stallone, you’re probably aware that the he barely had a dollar to his name when he wrote the script for Rocky. The Italian Stallion was so poor that he had to sell his dog to pay the bills, but as we know, Rocky became one of the greatest franchises in movie history, and thankfully, his dog Butkus returned.

The story behind Rocky is in fact a real life “Rocky” story, but there is a lot more to Sly than the heroic tough guy who continues to enthrall us on the big screen. After rewatching a few Stallone classics, we were inspired to find out more about Sly and his intriguing life. Below is our list of 10 Sylvester Stallone facts that you might not know.

 

Sly Is A Keen Art Enthusiast

He might be a tough guy on the screen and a passionate fight fan, but Stallone has stated that his personal hero is Leonardo da Vinci. Sly has been creating oil paintings since he was eight years old, and believes he has produced between 300 and 400 pieces in total. His works have been exhibited in Switzerland, Russia and France and many of them were created in his garage, where he enjoys painting in his pyjamas.

 

He Was Expelled From 14 Schools

School was not a fun time for Stallone. He was bullied at a young age, and became extremely disruptive and violent. By the age of 13, he had been kicked out 14 different schools, forcing his mother to send him to an American school in Switzerland. He was also voted "most likely to end up in the electric chair” by his fellow classmates at age 15.

 

He Attended The University of Miami

After returning home from Switzerland, Stallone studied drama at the University of Miami. However, he became tired of college after three years and dropped out to move back to New York to fast-track his dream of becoming an actor. Despite dropping out, Stallone was eventually granted a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree by the university in 1999 for his acting achievements and early studies.

 

He Worked With Lions

While struggling to break into the world of acting, Stallone had to hustle to make ends meet, and took various jobs to support his Hollywood dream. One of those jobs was cleaning lion cages at Central Park Zoo, where the lions would sometimes urinate on him.

 

He Was Fired From A Theatre For Scalping Tickets

Along with cleaning lion cages, Sly also took a job as a theatre usher for the Walter Reade Organisation in New York City. Needing to make a few extra bucks, he decided to fill his pockets by scalping unsold tickets outside the theatre, but was fired when a certain man did not appreciate Stallone's attempt to scalp him front row seats. That man was Walter Reade himself!

 

He Was Arrested For Possessing Illegal Hormones… In Australia

In 2007, the Italian Stallion made a visit to Australia and got himself in trouble for illegally bringing vials of human growth hormone and testosterone into the country. But Sly’s only real crime was being ignorant to Aussie laws, because he was taking the drugs for six years due to a medical condition, and was unaware that he needed a license to bring them to Australia. He then threw four vials of testosterone out of his Sydney hotel window to prevent any further charges. Fortunately, he avoided any serious punishment and was free to return back home.

 

He’s 71 Years Old!

We know it’s easy to find out the great man’s age, but we still can’t get over the fact that he’s 71 years old. Born in New York City in 1946, Sly was 30 when Rocky was released, but  remains in great shape, and could probably still last 15 rounds in the ring today. We’re not saying that the hormones he takes have anything to do with his impressive physique, but we’ll let it slide either way.

 

Even Sly Has Some Fears

Despite his fearless demeanour on the big screen, Stallone actually does have some fears - heights and claustrophobia. He once admitted that he has a "fear of heights that borders on mania", which proved to be challenging during the filming of Cliffhanger in the Italian Alps. So how did Finnish director Renny Harlin convince Sly to tackle his fears for the film? He tapped into his ego:

"I knew his psychology and I put him in a situation where it would have been embarrassing for him to, in front of the crew, refuse to get there. Obviously, I was able to get him there, and then once I got him to relax he was more than willing to do everything, and even more that I wanted him to do. The highest peak that we worked was 13,000 feet high, and there he was right on the edge, basically doing whatever it took", Harlin said.

 

He’s A Boxing Hall of Famer

In 2011, Stallone was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame for his promotion and contributions to the sport via the famous Rocky franchise. Stallone was inducted in the same class as former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, and admitted he was “embarrassed” to be alongside actual boxing champions to accept his honour. But unsurprisingly, the crowd loved every moment, and broke into the famous “Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!” chant when Sly was introduced. The highlight of the ceremony was saved for the end of Sly’s speech, when he shouted "Yo, Adrian! I did it!", to quote the famous line from Rocky II.

He Could Have Been Superman, or Beverly Hills Cop

Rocky has been a hero to many since the film’s release in 1976, but Sly could have been Superman just two years later. He rejected an offer to play the superhero, which was eventually filled by Christopher Reeve. Six years later, he also rejected the lead role (played by Eddie Murphy) in Beverly Hills Cop, believing that it could make a mockery of his “tough guy image”.

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