Home Blog Burt Young, 'Rocky' actor nominated for Oscar, dead at 83 – USA TODAY

Burt Young, 'Rocky' actor nominated for Oscar, dead at 83 – USA TODAY


Burt Young, who starred alongside Sylvester Stallone as brother-in-law Paulie in the “Rocky” films, has died. He was 83.
His manager, Lynda Bensky, confirmed the news in a statement to USA TODAY Wednesday evening.
“Burt was an actor of tremendous emotional range. He could make you cry and he could scare you to death,” Bensky said. “But the real pathos that I experienced was the poignancy of his soul. That’s where it came from.”
Young died in Los Angeles on Oct. 8. No cause of death was given.
The New York Times was first to report the news.
Young has more than 160 TV and film credits to his name, according to IMDB, including 1974’s “Chinatown” and 2018’s “The Amityville Murders.” In 1977, Young was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his performance in “Rocky.” He was up against “Rocky” costar Burgess Meredith, who played Mickey.
Prior to his acting career, Young dropped out of school at 15 to serve in the U.S. Marines from 1957 to 1959, according to his website.
Young was also a painter. His works – some of which are influenced by the “Rocky” movies – can be found at Bilotta Gallery, a Florida-based “home of celebrity artwork & memorabilia,” according to its website. He had an art show there in October 2017, according to a post he shared on Instagram at the time.
His paintings appeared in one of his scenes in 2006’s “Rocky Balboa,” per a Facebook post he shared last month.
The short, paunchy, balding Young was the sort of actor who always seemed to play middle-aged no matter his age.
When Paulie first appears in 1976’s “Rocky,” he’s an angry, foul-mouthed meat packer who is abusive to his sister Adrian (Talia Shire), with whom he shares a small apartment in Philadelphia. He berates the shy, meek Adrian for refusing at first to go on a Thanksgiving-night date with his buddy and co-worker Rocky Balboa, and destroys a turkey she has in the oven.
The film became a phenomenon, topping the box office for the year and making a star of lead actor and writer Stallone, who paid tribute to Young on Instagram on Wednesday night.
Along with a photo of the two of them on the set of the first film, Stallone wrote, “You were an incredible man and artist, I and the world will miss you very much.”
More: Sylvester Stallone finally gets his ‘Godfather’ Mob wish in ‘Tulsa King,’ with a Western twist
A post shared by Sly Stallone (@officialslystallone)
As the movies went on, Young’s Paulie softened, as the sequels themselves did, and he became their comic relief. In 1985’s “Rocky IV” he reprograms a robot Rocky gives him into a sexy-voiced servant who dotes on him.
Paulie was also an eternal pessimist who was constantly convinced that Rocky was going to get clobbered by his increasingly daunting opponents. His surprise at Rocky’s resilience brought big laughs.
“It was a great ride, and it brought me to the audience in a great way,” Young said in a 2020 interview with Celebrity Parents magazine. “I made him a rough guy with a sensitivity. He’s really a marshmallow even though he yells a lot.”
Young is survived by his daughter, Anne Morea Steingieser, his brother, Robert, and a grandson, according to The Times. His wife, Gloria, died in 1974.
Contributing: Andrew Dalton, Associated Press
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