Борис Бурда
Author: Boris Burda
Journalist, writer, bard. Winner of the «Diamond Owl» intellectual game «What? Where? When?»
Liberal ArtsNomina
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ROOTS AND WINGS with Boris Burda: famous American actor SYLVESTER STALLONE from a family of Odessa (Ukraine) immigrants

ROOTS AND WINGS with Boris Burda: famous American actor SYLVESTER STALLONE from a family of Odessa (Ukraine) immigrants
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When I just recently told that David Copperfield, a great magician with Odessa roots, cheats everyone for nothing and also makes a lot of money using his skills, I did not want to prove by this case that all Odessa citizens are a dubious people, from whom it is better to stay away.

One example proves nothing. Well, should women be hidden from all Venetians if Giacomo Casanova was born in Venice? Or should we imprison all the inhabitants of the millionth Indianapolis, the homeland of “criminal No. 1” John Dillinger? People are different everywhere …

In order to convince myself that there is nothing particularly terrible in my fellow countrymen, I wrote with pleasure about a sweet and law-abiding violinist. After that I calmed down a little – you see,it turns out,  that there are decent people among my fellow countrymen.

And just started writing about another hero with Odessa roots – and here you are! Even his peers at school were confident that he would end his life in the electric chair. Are we all like that? I know for sure that not even half …

Nevertheless, I will not change the topic. If the total box office of films with the participation of an actor is now approaching four billion dollars, I am curious what kind of person this actor is. This is not to mention the fact that in my city, my country and all over the world every dog ​​knows him.




His mother was the daughter of a famous Washington lawyer and a Frenchwoman from Brittany. And here both the father and the mother of the lawyer himself, Charles Leibofish and Rosa Lamlets, emigrated to the United States in 1888 from Odessa. That time many Jews swam across the ocean to break out of the Pale of Settlement.

The mother was a very extraordinary woman. She started out as a circus performer and later became a famous astrologer. And no need to giggle – I do not advise you to believe her predictions, but I just appreciate it as a participant in show business, astrologers know how to work in this filed, there is no need to argue here.

She even specialized in a spicy form of fortune telling called rumpology – it’s like palmistry, but not on the hand, but, sorry, on the buttocks. In my youth, I used to read girls’ hands a lot, often they liked it and even more, but I did not know about rumpology – what a pity!

For her first marriage, this colorful woman chose a temperamental man, a real Sicilian, at first just a barber, then the owner of a chain of hairdressing salons. It is sad that sexual mobility, pugnacity and alcoholism were relied on in the load.

Nevertheless, children were born in their marriage. The elder was given a beautiful triple name (it is customary among Catholics that more saints protect the namesake) – Michael Sylvester Gardenzio. And the child’s surname remained daddy – Stallone.

He was born on July 6, 1946, on the same day as President George W. Bush. The delivery was difficult, the forceps were applied incorrectly, and the lower left part of the face is still not working well for the child – this can even be noticed. At school he was teased by Crooked Mouth.

ROOTS AND WINGS with Boris Burda: famous American actor SYLVESTER STALLONE from a family of Odessa (Ukraine) immigrants
Quite a kid/2000culture.com




It would be wrong to say that the child behaved badly at school – he behaved horribly, worse than ever. Those who behave badly only fight, and this one also arranged arson. He was kicked out of school 14 times, and what the future was predicted for him almost unanimously, I already wrote – the electric chair.

The mother, calmly lifting a hundred-kilogram barbell, took him for pranks in one of the wrestling grips (she was very familiar with them) and beat him like a lot with a huge brush-comb – he swears that he took out splinters from his ass more than once after that.

ROOTS AND WINGS with Boris Burda: famous American actor SYLVESTER STALLONE from a family of Odessa (Ukraine) immigrants
With parents and brother/2000culture.com

One day, his father caught him trying to kill flies on the hood of his father’s new car with a lead pipe. What he did to him for this, biographers are even afraid to write. This is how children were raised in Hell’s Kitchen – a terrible area of ​​New York, about which O’Henry wrote.

At the age of 11, he jumped from the roof of a house with an umbrella instead of a parachute and fell into liquid cement. The father, seeing him, said to his wife: “Jacqueline, the boy can’t be president, you gave birth to an idiot.” The son replied: “Dad, the same was said about Thomas Edison” – I just wrote about this recently. He was right.

At the age of 12, Sylvester survived his parents’ divorce. At first he stayed with his father, but after 3 years he ran away to his mother. And she sent him to a special school for difficult children. The tests he passed showed that, with luck, he would become a sorter or even an electrician’s assistant, best of all for elevators …

ROOTS AND WINGS with Boris Burda: famous American actor SYLVESTER STALLONE from a family of Odessa (Ukraine) immigrants
Already trying/2000culture.com




The mother found an opportunity to send her son to study in Switzerland, at the American College. There he did better, in part because he had a clear ambition to become an actor. There he made his debut in the production of Death of a Salesman based on the play by Arthur Miller.

Returning to the United States, he entered the University of Miami and began studying drama there. But they don’t pay for it – moreover, you have to pay for studying. He solved this problem as best he could: he worked as a trainer, and a bouncer, and a doorman, and even a cage cleaner in a zoo.

He believed in his success – after all, back in 1968, a fortune-teller predicted to him that he would become famous. No, not with the help of rumpology – he did not allow to do it, even his own mother, for fear of a bad prediction. 

He regularly went to auditions and took on any job. There was a crisis moment – he did not pass the casting for the crowd scene of The Godfather and was thinking about giving up his dream of becoming an actor forever. But it turned out that he could earn money with this profession – however, there was a nuance …




Suddenly he accidentally read a note in the trade union newspaper: they say, an actor is required for soft porn, a fee of one hundred bucks a day, no hardcore. The movie was sponsored by a bunch of vicious, wealthy lawyers. He had little choice: go rob someone or star in this film.

The movie was called The Party at Kitty and Stud’. These Kitty and Stud, a couple living together, invited everyone with an ad to their party, and the evening ended with group sex – that’s the whole story. The total budget for the film was $ 5000, Stallone got $ 200 – not much!

The actor later recalled: “I played a stallion who invited people to a party through a newspaper ad. About ten people came to him, kissed and hugged – that’s all. By today’s standards, a film would almost pass parental censorship. ” Hardly, of course …

ROOTS AND WINGS with Boris Burda: famous American actor SYLVESTER STALLONE from a family of Odessa (Ukraine) immigrants
Stallone in a porn movie/2000culture.com

When Stallone was successful, the film was re-released under the title Italian Stallion and offered to buy the rights for $ 100,000. He said that they were not worth two bucks. And he was wrong – in 2010, these rights were listed on eBay and sold for 270,000 pounds.

In 2013, on the eve of the exhibition of Sylvester Stallone’s canvases in Moscow, the Communist Party of Russia filed a complaint with the police demanding that the actor be prosecuted for distributing pornographic materials, but it seemed to somehow go without a trial …




On March 24, 1975, Sly went to fight Mohammed Ali and little-known boxer Chuck Wepner. Returning home in the evening, he did not go outside for the next 92 hours. That is how much it took him to write the script for the film about the never giving up boxer.

He was offered a very decent amount for the script and stars to choose from for the main role. He replied that he agreed to reduce his fee by an order of magnitude on one condition – he himself would play the main role. He also told himself a percentage of the rental – no one expected much from the film.

To save itself from failure, the studio allocated a modest budget of $ 1,000,000. Because of this, Stallone’s relatives and friends had to be filmed in episodes – almost for nothing. As a result, the film earned $ 22.5 million at the worldwide box office, won three Oscars and a Golden Globe.

ROOTS AND WINGS with Boris Burda: famous American actor SYLVESTER STALLONE from a family of Odessa (Ukraine) immigrants

To survive the shooting, he had to quit smoking – otherwise shortness of breath bothered him. Stallone trained actively, ran huge distances every day, boxed as best he could. To learn how to blow, he pounded frozen carcasses in the refrigerator, shattering his knuckles into blood.

Before the success of Rocky, Stallone was almost a beggar, living in a trailer with his wife and one-year-old child. He even had to sell his beloved dog for $ 50. After receiving the royalties for the film, he barely got his friend back – but already for $ 3,000, the price increased.


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After the first Rocky was shot the second – also successful. And in parallel with the filming of the third Rocky, he got a new role. When the writer David Morrell was looking for a name for the hero of his book, his wife brought him a vase of apples, he asked what kind of variety it was. Rambo – she answered.

He had eminent competitors. But Al Pacino played a real psycho on the auditions and did not pass, Dustin Hoffman found the script cruel, Clint Eastwood left for another project, and with John Travolta Stallone, who became the scriptwriter of the film, was on bad terms. He had to play himself.

The story of a half-German-half-Indian from special forces, who, without waiting for the remarks of his opponents, prefers to interrupt them (in both senses of the word), was liked by the public. After the first film about Rambo, the second came out, in 2019 the fifth appeared. However, there are already seven films about Rocky …

Film critics, on the contrary, did not like the film, as well as Stallone himself in general. Through their prayers, he became 30 times a nominee and 10 times a laureate of the Golden Raspberry – it’s like an Oscar, but not for the best film, but for the worst. For Rambo-2 “Golden Raspberries” were given four pieces!

They did not like him in the USSR either. After the release of the second Rambo, there was no Soviet newspaper in which they did not write that Stallone is not good, and Rambo is even worse. Most Soviet people of those times learned about Stallone and Rambo not from the cinema, but from these publications. Advertising!

ROOTS AND WINGS with Boris Burda: famous American actor SYLVESTER STALLONE from a family of Odessa (Ukraine) immigrants

Of course, it was a shame to watch – Rambo there fell into the hands of a Soviet special forces, who, it turns out, tortured prisoners! Now we know that not only in special forces – in the ordinary police there are such people, but then … He also shot several dozen of his colleagues – a nightmare!




Rocky and Rambo created a not-so-pleasant image of a person who solves all problems with fists and shooting for Stallone. He was very unhappy with this and said on this topic: “It’s disgusting that I, Sylvester Stallone, have become synonymous with thoughtless, monosyllabic violence.” Whose fault is it?

Wanting to prove that he can not only kill and beat muzzles on the screen, he agreed for a ridiculous fee of $ 60,000 (twice less than usual) to play the degraded sheriff in the film “Land of the Police” and achieved his goal – everyone noted that he played perfectly …

In Konchalovsky’s film Tango and Cash, Stallone generally plays an unusual hero for himself – a policeman who wins not with his fists, but with his charm and intellect. Konchalovsky spoke of Stallone as almost the only thinking person on those filming.

ROOTS AND WINGS with Boris Burda: famous American actor SYLVESTER STALLONE from a family of Odessa (Ukraine) immigrants
Tango and Cash/vokrug.tv

He went on to star in a variety of films that augmented his Golden Raspberry collection. But there were enough successful films – Cobra, Rock Climber, Destroyer, Specialist … Of these, it became clear to the overwhelming majority that Stallone, besides fists, also had talent.




Hollywood stars like Charlton Heston, who has been married to a single woman for 64 years, are really few – Hollywood has different views. Here is Stallone – on his 50th birthday he was presented with an album with photographs of all his women, and then there were 595 of them!

However, he married only three times. His first wife was a colleague by profession Sasha Czack, the muse of Andy Warhol himself, the father of abstract art. She bore him two sons – Sage and Sergio. Sergio unfortunately turned out to be autistic and she quit her job to look after him.

Sage became an actor, but unfortunately died suddenly before his own wedding at 36. And the wife stoically endured her husband’s love for a long time, but she could not stand an affair with Brigitte Nielsen (remember Red Sonja? This is her) and filed for divorce, demanding compensation of $ 333 million.

The marriage with Brigitte Nielsen lasted two years. It turned out to be typically Hollywood: big advertising hype, low duration, separately a bunch of publications about their divorce and only a million dollars in alimony – 33 times less than in the previous marriage, in general, pennies!

After several years of a very turbulent life, he met model Jennifer Flavin, but quickly left her for Janice Dickinson, who gave birth to a child and sued him, demanding child support. Fortunately for him, the tests showed that he was not the father, and he managed to save a little.

He returned to Jennifer Flavin, on his knees begged her forgiveness for his infidelities and now lives happily with her, already almost waiting for the silver wedding. They have three adorable daughters – Sonya, Sistine and Scarlet. You can be temperamental, but by no means stupid …

ROOTS AND WINGS with Boris Burda: famous American actor SYLVESTER STALLONE from a family of Odessa (Ukraine) immigrants
With wife and daughters/people.com




At his very venerable age, Stallone is completely healthy and quite efficient. In his new franchise “The Expendables” (three films have already been released), he is both a screenwriter, a director and a leading actor. Lundgren, Willis, Statham and Schwarzenegger starred there.

ROOTS AND WINGS with Boris Burda: famous American actor SYLVESTER STALLONE from a family of Odessa (Ukraine) immigrants
Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis/1st-finstep.ru

Absolutely not knowing how to box (on the set of Rocky, the actor received a blow from a pro and ended up in the hospital), he nevertheless was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on June 12, 2011 for his services in popularizing boxing. At the same time, he collected a collection of knives without stabbing anyone.

His acquaintances claim that he is a wonderful conversationalist and a very intelligent person, but his heroes are different … He became known as an impressionist painter (it was at the exhibition of his paintings in Moscow that the communists tried to attract him for pornography, but it is absent in his paintings).

Do Odessa and Ukraine remember its roots? Yes, but they don’t mark it in any way – it makes no sense. All the same, his characteristic face, on which even now you can see the consequences of unsuccessfully applied obstetric forceps, instantly recognizes almost any resident of our country. And the whole world.

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