Anyone who’s ever loved a dog knows the indelible mark they leave on our lives — a legacy of devotion that lingers on long after they’ve gone. And it’s never too late to honor them for that. Sylvester Stallone, reminiscing about his best friend, a dog that not only inspired him to write ‘Rocky’ but who also played an important role in the film, revealed little known details about their early life together and the dog that kept him going during some of the toughest times in his life.
Stallone met the Bull Mastiff puppy, who he named Butkus after the famed Chicago Bears linebacker, in 1971. Broke, hungry, and living in a tiny apartment above a New York subway stop in Hell’s Kitchen, Stallone and Butkus became the very best of friends. It was during their time together in that flophouse that Stallone began screenwriting.
I absolutely love pictures like this. When I was 26, totally broke, going nowhere VERY fast, owned two pair of pants that barely fit, shoes that had holes in them and dreams of being successful were as far away as the sun… But I had my dog, BUTKUS, my best friend, my confidant, Who always laughed at my jokes, and put up with my moods, and was the one living thing that loved me for who I was!”
“1971… Since we’re on the subject of “man’s best friend” this is myself and Butkus as a puppy, we were both, thin, hungry and living in a flophouse above a subway stop, I used to say this apartment had “…Hot and cold running roaches” anyway there was not much to do except spend time with each other and that’s where I started to learn the craft of screenwriting. Since I never went out, I relied on his companionship, And actually it was his idea to write Rocky, but don’t tell anyone… Years later when things got even worse I had to sell him for $40 in front of a 7-Eleven store, because I couldn’t afford food, then like A modern day miracle, the screenplay for Rocky sold, and I could buy and buy him back, but the new owner knew I was desperate, and charged me $15,000 … He was worth every penny!”
Rocky won an Oscar and Butkus the doggie even got to star in the first two movies before his death in 1981