With a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—Sylvester Stallone is a true movie icon.
For nearly fifty years, he’s entertained audiences with his no-nonsense action roles and phenomenally ripped physique.
Yet, this success hides the tragic story of his son’s death, childhood bullying and brain damage.
Here’s the screenplay-like tale of the formidable Sylvester Stallone.
Sylvester Stallone Wiki
Date of birth: 6th July 1946.
Height: 5 feet 10 inches (177 cm).
Weight: 185-195 pounds (83.9-88.4 kg).
Profession: Actor, writer, producer, director and entrepreneur.
About Sylvester Stallone
Born in 1946, Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone was brought up in the Hell’s Kitchen area of Manhattan, New York. He comes from Italian and French Ukrainian heritage—on his father and mother’s side respectively.
From his very first moments in the world—life was tough for Sylvester Stallone. A careless misuse of forceps during his birth severed a nerve in his head—leaving him paralyzed on the left side of his face.
This medical incompetence led to his distinctive facial features and slurred speech. While now a distinctive trademark, in the rough streets of Manhattan, it meant he was mocked and bullied—actions which toughened Sly up from a young age.
Moving to Washington D.C. in the 1950s—Sylvester Stallone had his first experience of bodybuilding. His mother, Jacqueline “Jackie” Stallone, opened a women-only gym called Barbella’s. Sly remembers watching the girls feverishly working out on the machines.
His parents divorced, and Sly moved to Philadelphia with his mother. In 1958, after watching a Hercules movie, he recalled,
“I said to myself, do you want to be a bum, or do you want to be like Steve Reeves?”
He resolved to be the latter. From this moment on, he hit the gym—and it paid off. His increased bulk and strength enabled him to play football as a fullback for Lincoln High School.
Yet, it wasn’t just Steve Reeves’ physique that Sylvester Stallone wanted—he yearned of becoming a movie star too. To satisfy this ambition, he enrolled at the University of Miami to major in the dramatic arts.
At 23, he landed his first role in the film, The Square Root (1969). However, consistent work was tough to find. Luckily (or unluckily) his toned body meant he was able to appear naked in the porn-flick, The Party at Kitty and Stud’s (1970).1
In 1975, inspired by the Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner boxing match—Sylvester Stallone wrote the script for the film Rocky (1976). It was the catalyst for his movie screen superstardom.
In addition to acting, Sylvester Stallone is a movie director, producer, boxing promoter and owns a film studio (Balboa Productions).
He lives in Los Angeles with the current Sylvester Stallone wife, Jennifer Flavin—having divorced the actress Brigitte Nielsen in 1987.
He’s had five children, with Sylvester Stallone son, Sage, dying at the age of 36 from coronary heart disease.
Sylvester Stallone Net Worth
Current estimates place Sylvester Stallone’s net worth as over $400 million.
Sylvester Stallone Acting Career
Out of all the Sylvester Stallone movies, Rocky has achieved the greatest critical success. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor (both for Stallone).
This blockbuster spawned seven sequels (including the Creed movies).
His muscular physique enabled him to obtain the role of John Rambo in the 1982 film, First Blood. From this point onward, Sylvester Stallone starred in many physical action films—making use of his formidable on-screen shredded appearance.
The Sylvester Stallone 2019 actor has starred in over 80 movies—here are some of his most memorable roles.
Rambo: Last Blood as John Rambo 2019
Creed II as Rocky Balboa 2018
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 as Stakar Ogord 2016
Escape Plan as Breslin 2013
The Expendables as Barney Ross 2010
Get Carter as Jack Carter 2000
Antz as Weaver 1998
Judge Dredd as Judge Dredd 1995
Demolition Man as John Spartan 1993
Cliffhanger as Gabe Walker 1993
Rocky IV as Rocky Balboa 1985
First Blood as John Rambo 1982
Rocky III as Rocky Balboa 1982
Rocky II as Rocky Balboa 1979
The Muppet Show as Himself 1979
Rocky as Rocky Balboa 1976
Kojak (TV Series) as Det. Rick Daly 1975
The Party at Kitty and Stud’s Stud 1970
Sylvester Stallone Workout Program
Sylvester Stallone’s physique was at its most impressive during the early Rocky era (I-IV, 1976-1985). During this time, his workouts changed depending on the movie’s storyline.
Stallone claims that he achieved his ultimate shredded physique for Rocky III (1982). For this movie, he states he had an all-time low body fat percentage of just 2.8.
For Rocky IV (1985) and Rambo II (1985)—he trained under the guidance of Franco Columbu. This legendary two-time Mr. Olympia said of Sly:
“If I took a weight and did twelve reps, Sylvester would have to try and do at least seven. After all, I may be stronger than he is, but not that much stronger.”
This is the program Sylvester Stallone followed for Rocky III—be warned, it’s intense.
He trained twice a day, six days a week. Even Stallone considered this too much—admitting that most of the time, he was dizzy and over-fatigued.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday Mornings—Chest, Back, and Abs
- Incline bench press 4 sets 8-10 reps
- Dumbbell flyes 4 sets 10-12 reps
- Bench press (close grip) 5 sets 6-8 reps
- Wide grip chin ups 6 sets 8-10 reps
- Bent over single-arm lateral raise 4 sets 8-10 reps
- Seated rows (close-grip) 4 sets 10-12 reps
- Raised leg crunches 3 sets 8-10 reps
- Seated extension 3 sets 8-10 reps
Take a look at Sylvester Stallone working out for his roles in the movies Creed and Rambo:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday Afternoon—Shoulders, Arms and Abs
- Standing military press 4 sets 8-10 reps
- Side lateral raise 4 sets 8-10 reps
- Bent over dumbbell flyes 5 sets 6-8 reps
- Barbell curls 3 sets 8-10 reps
- Seated incline dumbbell curls 3 sets 8-10 reps
- Concentration curls 4 sets 10-12 reps
- Lying dumbbell raise 3 sets 8-10 reps
- Bent-over single-arm lateral raise 3 sets 8-10 reps
- Cable pull downs 3 sets 8-10 reps
- Alternate leg raise 3 sets 8-10 reps
- Decline bench sit-ups 3 sets 8-10 reps
- Oblique crunches 3 sets 8-10 reps
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday Morning—Calves and Thighs
- Seated calf raise 4 sets 8-10 reps
- Standing calf raise 4 sets 10-12 reps
- Standing barbell alternate calf raise 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Incline leg press 4 sets 8-10 reps
- Squats 4 sets 8-10 reps
- Seated leg extensions 4 sets 8-10 reps
- Leg curls 4 sets 8-12 reps
- Leg extensions 4 sets 10-12 reps
- Stiff legged deadlift 4 sets 10-12 reps
If you need inspiration, take a look at the 72-year-old Sylvester Stallone working out for the movie Rambo: Last Blood (2019):
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday Afternoon—Rear Deltoids, Traps and Abs
- Bent over dumbbell rear delt raise 4 sets 10-12 reps
- Cable crossovers 4 sets 10-12 reps
- Reverse pec deck flyes 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Barbell shrugs 4 sets 8-10 reps
- Barbell upright rows 4 sets 8-10 reps
- Flat bench cable rows 4 sets 8-10 reps
- Abs crunch 4 sets 8 reps
- Oblique crunches 4 sets 10 reps
- Cable crunch 4 sets 10-12 reps
Watch this montage of Sylvester Stallone training—both on-screen and off:
Sylvester Stallone Diet
For the majority of Sylvester Stallone’s roles, he was muscular and ripped—not bulky.
This is reflected in his training diet, which is high in protein and low in fat. Following on from the workout above, here’s the meal plan he followed when preparing for Rocky III.
- A glass of liquid amino acids.
- Three egg whites scrambled.
- Half the yolk of one egg.
- Irish oatmeal.
- Pumpernickel bread toasted.
- One large papaya.
- Eight fresh figs.
- Summer squash roasted.
- Grilled chicken (without skin).
- Green salad.
- Eight fresh figs.
- Bowl of seasonal berries.
- Mixed fresh salad.
- Grilled oily fish.
- High-fiber bread toasted.
- Mixed green vegetables.
- Grilled veal.
- Protein shake.
Here’s Sylvester Stallone talking about eating and the movies:
Is Sylvester Stallone on Steroids?
Think back to Rocky IV.
In this movie, Rocky takes on the steroid-injecting Russian, Ivan Drago. Rocky is shown to be the ultimate natural bodybuilder—working out in a barn with nothing but ropes, chains and tires.
That may have been Rocky’s ethos—but Sylvester Stallone’s training seems, well, a little more chemical-based.
In 2007, Australia customs officials discovered 48 vials of HGH (human growth hormone) in Sylvester Stallone’s suitcase. He pleaded guilty to importing this drug into the country.
In defense, his lawyer indicated that Stallone had been taking HGH, along with testosterone, for a medical condition—although he didn’t disclose what that condition was.
Ok, technically, HGH isn’t a steroid—although it is a performance enhancer used in bodybuilding. However, since his lawyer admitted he took testosterone, we can categorically say he was on the ‘roids.
However, there’s no evidence that he was using synthetics throughout the prime years of Rambo and Rocky. But, when you consider that he managed to drop to 2.8 percent body fat—it appears possible.
Sylvester Stallone Before and After
Sylvester Stallone has always had a reasonably trim physique. Below are images illustrating his change from a footballer (1964), to pornstar (1970) and finally, his Rocky role (1976).
I’ve also included a photo of Sly in Rocky III (1982) to demonstrate how ripped he was for that movie.
Sylvester Stallone Supplements
During his training with Frank Columbu, under his advice, Sylvester Stallone was using the following supplements:
- Whey protein isolate.
- Fat burners.
Sylvester Stallone Quotes: Motivation and Inspiration
The characters of Rocky and John Rambo have provided moviegoers the world over with numerous inspirational and quotable lines. But, Sylvester Stallone himself isn’t short of motivational words:
- “I am not the richest, smartest or most talented person in the world, but I succeeded because I keep going and going and going.”
- “I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.”
- “If you look back at life, I bet you will regret about 80% of your actions. But life consists of your mistakes. Learn from them.”
- “Remember, the mind is your best muscle… big arms can move rocks, but big words can move mountains… ride the brain train for success.”
However, this list would not be complete without at least one line from his movies. So, to conclude this section, here’s a quote from Rocky Balboa:
- “You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
Sylvester Stallone Frequently Asked Questions
“Is Sylvester Stallone Dead?”
No. Sylvester Stallone is alive and well and living with his wife in Los Angeles.
“How Old Is Sylvester Stallone?”
The Sylvester Stallone age is 73 years old.
“Is Sylvester Stallone Religious?”
Sylvester Stallone was raised as a Catholic. As his acting career flourished, he admits that he lost his way.
However, his faith was rekindled after his daughter was born ill in 1996.
“Who Is Sylvester Stallone Mother?”
His mother is the astrologer and women’s wrestling promoter, Jacqueline “Jackie” Stallone. His father, who died in 2011, was Francesco “Frank” Stallone.
“What Are the Names of Sylvester Stallone Children?”
He has three daughters, Sistine, Sophia Rose and Scarlet Rose. Sylvester Stallone has two sons, Sage (deceased) and Seargeoh.
Sylvester Stallone Summary
The life of Sylvester Stallone is as motivational as his creation, Rocky Balboa.
Born into hardship and an unforgiving environment—Sly never lost his ambition.
Even when he became an actor—he wasn’t content with the jobs he was being offered. So, he created his own legendary role.
He wasn’t a competitive bodybuilder—yet trained harder than many people on the professional circuit—simply to be in optimum condition for his movie appearances.
Sylvester Stallone is a genuine screen icon—and one who should inspire us all never to accept defeat.