Sylvester Stallone Remembers 'Dear Friend' Burt Young Following His Death

The 'Rocky' actor who shared screen with the recently-deceased actor in his boxing movie franchise describes his late co-star as 'an incredible man and artist.'

AceShowbiz - Sylvester Stallone has dubbed Burt Young an "incredible man and artist." The "Rocky" actor, 77, teamed up with the late actor in six films from the boxing movie franchise and paid tribute to the tough guy star hours after it emerged he had died aged 83.

"To my Dear Friend, BURT YOUNG, you were an incredible man and artist, I and the World will miss you very much… RIP," Sylvester said on Instagram, alongside a black and white photo showing him and Burt on the set of "Rocky".

Tough guy character actor Burt is probably best known for playing tortured alcoholic Paulie in the "Rocky" films as well as a menacing gangster in "Once Upon a Time in America".

He died on October 8 in Los Angeles, but his passing was only announced early on Thursday, October 19. Burt's death was confirmed by his daughter Anne Morea Steingieser to the New York Times.

She said about how her dad found a kindred spirit in swaggering Hollywood director Sam Peckinpah, "Both were mavericks and outlaws, with a deep respect for art. They understood each other because of the intensity and honesty Peckinpah demanded. He had no tolerance for lack of authenticity."

Burt amassed more than 160 film and television credits, regularly playing mobsters, detectives or bedraggled blue collar workers. He had a background as a Marine and professional boxer, and critics hailed him for always bringing complex layers of sensitivity to his tortured characters.

Iconic acting teacher Lee Strasberg, who once coached Burt, said the star contained a "library of emotions."

His 1970s appearances included roles on the TV hit "M*A*S*H" and in films such as "Cinderella Liberty" and "Chinatown", in which he had a scene-stealing part as a cuckolded husband who gets tangled in a web of incest and murder.

He is perhaps best known for playing Rocky's future brother-in-law alongside Sylvester in the first "Rocky" film. His part as a butcher friend of the boxer and abusive brother of Adrian, played by Talia Shire, earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.

He said about being cast in the film, "I was the only actor that didn't audition in the first 'Rocky'. And I got the most money for it. It really wasn't a fighting story, it was a love story, about someone standing up. Not even winning, just standing up."

He added about Paulie, "I made him a rough guy with a sensitivity. He's really a marshmallow, even though he yells a lot."

Burt was born Gerald Tommaso DeLouise and adopted his screen name when he became an actor.

Along with his daughter, Burt is survived by a brother, Robert, and a grandson. His wife, Gloria, died in 1974.

Burt was also an avid painter whose work was influenced by Picasso and Matisse.

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