Burt Young, a former boxer who was in Sylvester Stallone’s corner as his brother-in-law Paulie in the six Rocky Films and received an Oscar nomination for supporting actor for his role in the original, has died. He was 83.
He died Oct. 8 in Los Angeles, said his daughter Anne Morea Steingieser The New York Times Wednesday.
A tough guy in real life who usually played tough guys on screen, Young portrayed a lousy customer of Jack Nicholson Chinatown (1974) starred gangster “Bed Bug” Eddie The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984) and played Rodney Dangerfield’s protector/chauffeur Lou Back to school (1986).
Young also appeared in four films with fellow Queens native James Caan in four consecutive years – Cinderella freedom (1973), The player (1974), The killer elite (1975) and Harry and Walter go to New York (1976) – before collaborating again Mickey blue eyes (1999).
He played a getaway driver in Sam Peckinpah’s The killer elitethen got behind the wheel again for the director as a renegade trucker convoy (1978).
As grumpy ex-Navy man Paulie Pennino, the older brother of Adrian (Talia Shire), the wife of Rocky’s best friend, Young has been a staple on the MGM franchise since its original release in 1976. After giving the boxer the idea of training in a cold storage room and working as his cornerman, Paulie was a permanent fixture in all the films Rocky Balboa (2006).
“I was on the MGM lot when Sly Stallone came by and introduced himself to me and told me he had written Rocky and said, ‘You have to do it,’” he recalled in a 2009 interview for the website The Sweet Science. “I wanted to do it right away, but I wanted to twist her arms a little, not look too eager.
“I thought the script contained the cleanest street prose I had ever read. Stallone is not only a workaholic, he is also a genius who always looks three years ahead. He has a real sense of what’s going on in the world.”
In 1978, Young wrote and starred in the heartbreaking film Trumpet Uncle Joe Shannonproduced by Rocky Oscar winners Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler.
Burt Young United Artists/Photo Festival
He was born Gerald Tommaso DeLouise in Queens on April 30, 1940. His father was a sheet metal mechanic who became a shop teacher in high school, and his mother was a seamstress.
Young got into mischief in high school and, with the help of his father, joined the U.S. Marines before he turned 16, lying about his age. He boxed on duty and won 32 of 34 fights during his two years in Okinawa, he said.
When he came out, he trained with Cus D’Amato (later Mike Tyson’s trainer) and claimed to have been undefeated in some fights as a professional. He said his biggest win from a fight was $400. (He later “fought” Muhammad Ali in a charity exhibition, and they became friends.)
While working as a carpet cleaner, salesman and installer, he began studying at the Actors Studio with Lee Strasberg, who would serve as his mentor.
“What happened is that I chased a girl and her [said she] wanted to study with Lee Strasberg. I thought he [Strasberg] was a girl,” he told New York News day in 1985. “Anyway, I met him and he told me, ‘You’re very tense.’ You have a lot of tension around you. I feel like you are an emotional library.’ “
His first acting appearance was at the age of 28 in a play, and his first two films were about crime in New York City: The gang that couldn’t shoot straight (1971), from a novel by Jimmy Breslin, and Across 110th Street (1972).
Young appeared on the big screen in 2011 Amityville II: The Possession (1982), I want to come out (1982), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Over the Brooklyn Bridge (1984), Last exit to Brooklyn (1989), Betsy’s wedding (1990), Excessive force (1993), She is so lovely (1997), The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002), Transamerica (2005) and win win (2011).
On television, Young co-starred with Corey Haim on the short-lived NBC sitcom roommateIn Steve Schirripa’s character, he played the retired gangster father The sopranos and guest appearance as Lt. Palumbo in Murder can harm you! an ABC parody by Columbo-like detective series.
He made his Broadway debut in 1986 alongside Robert De Niro Cuba and his teddy bear.
Young returned to his ringside roots in the 1980s when he mentored boxer David Sears. Sears, a light heavyweight, fought for the title but was knocked out in the third round by Michael Spinks in February 1985 in Atlantic City.
In addition to his daughter, survivors include his brother Robert and a grandson. His wife Gloria died in 1974.
His passion for painting was sparked when, at age 11, Young won an easel in a New York City Parks Department competition and painted. An exhibition of his work in 2006 New York Post wrote, displayed “a whimsical touch and a flair for color” and said he once got $66,000 for a painting.
“I thought, ‘What better way to make a living without directing, acting or writing?’ There is no censorship,” he said in 2012. “In so many films, my work ends up on the cutting room floor – every actor does. What are they going to do with my pictures?”
Source : www.hollywoodreporter.com