Sylvester Stallone’s Strange Mythology About Selling His Pre-Rocky Dog

THE URBAN LEGEND OF THE FILM: Sylvester Stallone had so little money he had to sell his dog before selling the script to Rockyand once he sold Rocky, he spent $15,000 to get his dog back.

The other day I captioned a famous story by Shelley Winters that had recently gone viral on social media. Long story short (but, seriously, the story is good enough to be worth reading) I think the story was probably just pure fiction or a case where what really happened was so bloated that it was basically just plain fiction. In that story, I quoted the introduction from Tony Curtis’s autobiography, who noted, “I’m determined to make this book different. I’m not interested in Shelley Winters’ approach. fertilizer in the 21st century. I want to try not to bend everything in my life for my own ends, even though we all do.

Curtis specifically calls out Shelley Winters, but let’s face it, that sort of thing is far from a “Shelley Winters thing.” It’s a very common practice for a number of actors and media personalities to somehow cultivate a mythology about them. I’ve covered a number of stories like this where the people involved were directly involved in spreading the false story, such as Satanist Anton LaVey being a consultant on Rosemary’s baby or some early antics about Steven Spielberg’s directing career. So it’s something quite normal, but as a result, over time, this kind of early swelling is accepted as a fact.

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Interestingly enough, we here at CBR had a story on Butkus just a few months ago, so I’ll quote the appropriate part of Cassidy Stephenson’s story on Butkus:

According total rocky, Stallone was forced to sell Butkus for $40 off a 7-11 to afford food. Fortunately, the dog’s stay in his new family’s home only lasted six months. Stallone was able to buy Butkus out for $15,000 after selling the Rocky screenplay to producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff. The actor would later reveal on Instagram that the purchase was “worth every penny.”

So it’s pretty much on point, right? Stallone specifically says in the quoted Instagram story, “A modern-day miracle, Rocky’s script sold, and I could buy it and buy it back, but the new owner knew I was desperate and told me. billed $15,000…It was worth every penny!” So ​​that’s it…but IS it really?

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IS THE STORY OF Sylvester Stallone and his dog true?

Interestingly, Total Rocky’s aforementioned story on Butkus doesn’t actually mention the $15,000. He tells the story this way:

Shortly after, when Rocky was under construction and he had the safety of more money in his pocket, Sly knew he had to try and get the dog back. “The other family had it for six months,” Stallone says. “They weren’t exactly thrilled, but I said, ‘Please. I said, ‘This dog belongs in the movie.’ He had suffered with me for two years. I said, ‘Please let him run in the movie.’ The unfortunate other family relented and returned Butkus to his rightful owner.

It certainly seems a lot more normal of a story, right?

A few years ago I wrote a caption about Stallone and Rocky and a story that suggested United Artists only approved of Stallone in Rocky because the president of United Artists had seen Stallone’s only movie role at that time, Tthe Lords of Flatbush, and confused Stallone with his co-star, Perry King. In this story (which basically debunked the legend), I wrote about how Rocky producer Robert Chartoff pointed out that there had been so many invented myths about Rocky and many of them involved Stallone and his underdog life.

In 2006, Gabe Sumner, then head of marketing at United Artists, recalled how Stallone’s backstory at the time was the result of the studio’s public relations:

We have developed a great advertising campaign. It was about how this stranger named Sylvester Stallone came into our office with a script and the company was ready to buy the script, but Stallone said, “I’m not going to sell it to you unless I is in the movie. And we (supposedly) said, ‘No way.’ And he said, ‘Well, you can’t have the script.’ And we said, ‘We’ll give you $18,000 And that’s the number we used. And a deal was done and Stallone could star in this movie that he wrote. And he got the full $18,000. Is that true? That was horsesh*t! But it worked. He promoted the whole underdog concept and carried on. I don’t have to tell you how the press feeds on the underdog story. He filled in with the space on the entertainment pages and in the columns looking for something for the next day They ate the idea that this actor loved his work so much and was willing to sell it for r a dime and a dime in order to do it, blah, blah, blah. It all became part of the underdog fabric that brought people in. Period. They simply joined.

In 2013, Stallone said he paid $3,000 to get the dog back.

So let’s just say that if the story in 2013 is $3,000 and the story in 2017 is $15,000, the actual story in 1975/76 was almost certainly a much lower amount. Either way, though, the odds of him being $15,000 when he told the $3,000 story just four years earlier are so infinitesimally small that I’m willing to use that caption as …


Be sure to check out my Movie Legends Revealed archive for more urban legends from the movie world.

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