Sylvester Enzio Stallone (born Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone, July 6, 1946) is an American actor, screenwriter, director, and producer. After his beginnings as a struggling actor for a number of years upon arriving to New York City in 1969 and later Hollywood in 1974, he won his first critical acclaim as an actor for his co-starring role as Stanley Rosiello in The Lords of Flatbush. Stallone subsequently found gradual work as an extra or side character in films with a sizeable budget until he achieved his greatest critical and commercial success as an actor and screenwriter, starting in 1976 with his role as boxer Rocky Balboa, in the first film of the successful Rocky series (1976–present), for which he also wrote the screenplays. In the films, Rocky is portrayed as an underdog boxer who fights numerous brutal opponents and wins the world heavyweight championship twice.
Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone was born in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City on July 6, 1946, the elder son of Francesco “Frank” Stallone Sr., a hairdresser and beautician, and Jacqueline “Jackie” Stallone (née Labofish; 1921–2020), an astrologer, dancer, and promoter of women’s wrestling. His Italian father was born in Gioia del Colle, Italy and moved to the U.S. in the 1930s, while his American mother is of French (from Brittany) and Ashkenazi Jewish descent. His younger brother is actor and musician Frank Stallone.
Complications suffered by Stallone’s mother during labor forced her obstetricians to use two pairs of forceps during his birth; misuse of these forceps accidentally severed a nerve and caused paralysis in parts of Stallone’s face. As a result, the lower left side of his face is paralyzed (including parts of his lip, tongue, and chin), an accident that gave him his signature snarling look and slurred speech. As a child, he was bullied as a result, so he coped with bodybuilding and acting.
He was baptized Catholic. His father moved the family to Washington, D.C. in the early 1950s to open a beauty school. In 1954, his mother opened a women’s gym called Barbella’s. Stallone attended Notre Dame Academy and Lincoln High School in Philadelphia, as well as Charlotte Hall Military Academy, prior to attending Miami Dade College. He spent two years, from September 1965 to June 1967, at the American College of Switzerland and returned to the United States to study as a drama major at the University of Miami, from 1967 to 1969. Until 1969, he appeared on the stage under the name Mike Stallone; in 1970, he started using the stage name, Sylvester E. Stallone
Sylvester Stallone’s net worth is estimated to be $450 million, according to the list of richest American Hollywood Actors.