Rocky Wouldn’t Have Been Rocky Without Burt Young, Who Has Died

Plus, Queen guitarist wears Phillies shirt during "We Are the Champions" in South Philly last night.

Burt Young, who recently died, with Sylvester Stallone in 2014 for the premiere of the <em>Rocky</em> musical on Broadway

Burt Young, who recently died, with Sylvester Stallone in 2014 for the premiere of the Rocky musical on Broadway

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Rocky Wouldn’t Have Been Rocky Without Burt Young, Who Has Died

Coming close to 50 (!!!) years since its release date, Rocky has stood the test of time. Keep in mind that this is a movie that beat out All the President’s Men, Network and Taxi Driver for the Best Picture award at the Oscars.

There’s just something magical about Rocky. A lot of that comes down to the talent of Sylvester Stallone, who both wrote and starred in the movie. But let’s be honest: Stallone never had a lot of acting chops. And Rocky would never in a million years be the success that it is without the stellar supporting cast, which included Burt Young as Paulie, the drunken no-good brother of Rocky’s sweetheart Adrian.

Well, Young has died at the age of 83. He actually passed away earlier this month, on October 8th, in Los Angeles. But news of his death somehow didn’t emerge until yesterday.

“To my Dear Friend, Burt Young, you were an incredible man and artist,” Stallone wrote in a social media post on Wednesday night. “I and the World will miss you very much … RIP.”

I had the pleasure of interviewing Young for a 2016 oral history of Rocky I compiled for this magazine. (You can read the whole thing here.) When I finally managed to get hold of him, he invited me up to stay with him for the weekend in Long Island, because that’s just the kind of guy he was. Sadly, I had other obligations, so we did the interview by phone, to his dismay.

Young, who was a boxer in his early years, told me that when he read the script for Rocky, his first thought was that the mere idea of a “stumblebum … fighting for a championship” was basically “a fairy tale done for grown-ups.” He also revealed to me that he was the only actor who didn’t have to audition for Rocky, because the producers, who had worked with him before, knew he was perfect for the part of Paulie. And one other fun detail from that interview: To get into character, Young would rub cheap vermouth all over his neck. “So I would smell like cheap wine,” he said. “This guy is half a waste, I wanted to remind myself.”

Below, some photos of Burt Young from over the years:

Sylvester Stallone and Burt Young on the set of <em>Rocky</em>

Sylvester Stallone and Burt Young on the set of Rocky (Getty Images)

Burt Young, Talia Shire, Sylvester Stallone, Mr. T, Burgess Meredith, And Carl Weathers at a <em>Rocky III</em> press conference

Burt Young, Talia Shire, Sylvester Stallone, Mr. T, Burgess Meredith, and Carl Weathers at a Rocky III press conference (Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 18: Burt Young and Sylvester Stallone arrives at the Philadelphia premiere of ''Rocky Balboa'' on December 18, 2006 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Burt Young and Sylvester Stallone at the Philadelphia premiere of Rocky Balboa on December 18, 2006, in Philadelphia (Getty Images)

Sylvester Stallone And Burt Young during "Rocky" 20th Anniversary at Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, United States.

Sylvester Stallone and Burt Young during the Rocky 20th anniversary at Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills (Getty Images)

Inquirer Issues Apology Over Israel-Hamas Cartoon

Writing about what’s happening in the Middle East right now is tough work from so many angles. Newsrooms are debating what to call it and what voices they can/should include in their stories. And naturally, there have been some missteps. The Inquirer is not immune. The editorial board of the Inquirer just issued an apology over Tuesday’s editorial cartoon that, the board admitted, “reinforced antisemitic tropes.” You can read the full apology here.

Because We Really Are the Champions

What’s the guitarist from one of the greatest rock-and-roll bands to do when he comes out to perform one of said band’s greatest hits, “We Are the Champions,” in Philadelphia the night before Game 3? Wear a Phillies shirt, of course!

Local Talent

If you’ve been wondering why your local movie theater suddenly seems busier than normal, it’s because Pride of Berks County Taylor Swift just released her concert film. Yes, a concert film of the concert tour she’s still on. Wild, right? With an opening weekend of $123.5 million, Swift’s movie is already the top-grossing concert movie of all time in North America. But it turns out that due to the way Swift decided to release her movie — she sidestepped the big studios and dealt with AMC Theaters directly — she may be leaving a bunch of cash on the table. Then again, I think she can afford it.

By the Numbers

3: Suspects arrested for the shooting last week that led to the death of a Philadelphia cop at the airport

15: Philly Rite-Aid stores that have closed or are closing soon as part of the Philly-HQ’d company’s bankruptcy

16 percent: Increase over the last year in what your income needs to be if you want to own a median-priced home here. If you earn less than $75,000 per year, you are now below that threshold. And that number isn’t expected to go down anytime soon.

And from the Let’s-Go! Sports Desk …

You all know what’s going down this evening, right? Round three of the NLCS, starting at the goddamn inconvenient hour of 5:07 p.m. in the Diamondbacks’ home stadium, a.k.a. Chase Field, which sounds like an outfielder from the 1970s if you ask us. We want to hear some NOISE on the block during this one, people. It looks to be Ranger Suárez vs. Brandon Pfaadt, which sounds like … nah, we got more class than that. Barely.

Just to get you in the mood, some nominations were announced yesterday:

Congrats to all, and GO PHILS!!!

The Flyers also play.

All Philly Today sports content is provided by Sandy Hingston.