Sylvester Stallone and His Dog’s Story That Proves Love Can Weather Any Storm
We know Sylvester Stallone for his iconic role as Rocky Balboa. In fact, the franchise that launched him to fame is still popular today. But before succeeding in Hollywood, the actor went through some very though times. The good thing is that even then, he could count on his pet, Butkus. Unfortunately, as you’ll learn, his situation forced him to make a very tough decision.
At Bright Side, we are very touched by this sweet, beautiful story that unites Sylvester Stallone with his pet, and we want to share it with you.
The difficult life of Sylvester Stallone before Rocky
Before playing Rocky Balboa, Sylvester Stallone faced a harsh reality. As he said himself, “I was totally broke, had 2 pairs of pants that barely fit, shoes with holes in them, and dreams of success were as far away as the sun.” In addition, having no home of his own, he had to live in a homeless shelter above a subway stop.
It was in this environment that Stallone began to learn the craft of screenwriting since “there wasn’t much else to do,” a craft that, sometime later, would make him a major world star. However, he was not alone. In that difficult day-to-day life he had to endure, he had the warm company of his dog, Butkus, a very special friend for the actor.
More than 40 years after the premiere of Rocky in 1976, Stallone wanted to remember his canine friend on his Instagram profile. “He was my confidant, who always laughed at my jokes. He put up with my mood swings and was the only living being who loved me for who I was. He was my best friend,” the actor wrote on an Insta post.
However, not everything was rosy for the duo. Due to the small amount of money he earned, Stallone barely had enough to cover basic needs. As he explained in an interview, there were times when he had to decide who would not eat during the day, his wife or his dog, since he earned only about $36 a week.
With the prospect of not being able to feed and keep his loyal friend in good condition, Stallone made a very tough decision. “When things got worse, I had to sell him for $40 in front of a 7-Eleven store because I couldn’t afford to feed him,” he said. Then they both were forced to face the bittersweet goodbye.
An unexpected twist in Sylvester Stallone’s story
Fortunately, his luck would very quickly change. Chuck Wepner and Muhammad Ali faced each other in a legendary boxing match that inspired him to write the screenplay for Rocky. He wrote the first draft in about 3 days: “I would get up at 6 a.m. and write it by hand, with a Bic pen, on sheets of lined notebook paper. Then my wife, Sasha, would type it on a typewriter,” he commented.
From the very beginning, Stallone knew he wanted to play Rocky. However, most producers intended to cast a big-name actor in the starring role, such as Robert Redford or Burt Reynolds. Still, Stallone insisted and insisted until he managed to find a production company that would let him star in the film.
A happy ending for Stallone and his dog
When he finally had a bit more money, Stallone was still missing something to make his life complete. Instead of putting his difficult past behind him and focusing on the success he was building, the actor remembered the loyal friend who had stood by him, and didn’t hesitate for a second to get him back.
Stallone sought out the man who bought Butkus with the intention of buying him back. At first, the new owner did not want to give him back. Finally, he asked for the sum of $3,000 to give him the dog.
“It was worth every penny!” the actor said. In addition to this, the former owner asked to be able to participate in the movie, and he did. He is one of the extras that appear at the beginning of the film.
That man was not the only one who was part of the movie. Butkus accompanied his friend in Rocky and Rocky II, playing Rocky Balboa’s mascot. There, we can see the undeniable chemistry the duo had, and the love in Stallone’s eyes when he saw and pet his dog. Sadly, Butkus passed away in 1981 from a heart attack.
“Although I was very successful and have been blessed, I miss those morning walks with my 4-legged friend! We literally spent 24 hours a day together. We were inseparable, best friends, you could say. I loved him and, fortunately, I will never find a dog like him again,” Stallone recalls, showing us that the friendship between a man and his pet is the purest.
What is your pet’s name? What anecdote about them would you like to share? We’ll read what you write in the comments.