SYLVESTER STALLONE (Writer, Producer, "Joe Tanto") has established worldwide recognition as an actor, writer, producer and director since he played the title role in his self-penned screenplay "Rocky," which won the Academy Award in 1976 for Best Picture.
Born in New York City, Stallone attended school in suburban Philadelphia, where he first started acting. He then spent two years instructing at the American College of Switzerland in Geneva. Returning to the United States, Stallone enrolled as a drama major at the University of Miami and also began to write, but left college before graduation to pursue an acting career in New York. By 1973. he had auditioned for almost every casting agent in town, but found little success.
During this period. Stallone turned more and more to writing, churning out numerous screenplays while waiting for his acting break. The opportunity first came in 1974 when he was cast as one of the leads in "The Lords of Flatbush." He also received his first writing credit on this film, for "additional dialogue."
With the money earned from that film, Stallone left New York for Hollywood. He again began making the rounds to studios and casting agents. managing to get a few small roles in television and movies. He also continued to pursue writing.
Prize fighter Rocky Balboa was given life in a script Stallone wrote entirely in longhand. Several producers offered to buy the screenplay - but with a name star in the title role, which Stallone insisted on playing himself. Although at the time his bank balance was barely $100. Stallone held fast -- and his perseverance finally paid off.
Stallone's credits as an actor/writer/director are "Rocky II" and "Paradise Alley." As actor and co-writer, Stallone filmed "F.I.S.T.," "First Blood," "Rambo: First Blood, Part II," "Rhinestone" and "Rambo III." He co-wrote, directed and produced "Staying Alive" and starred in "Nighthawks." "Victory," "Fango & Cash" and "Lock Up." "Rocky V," starring and written by Stallone and directed by Jon Avildsen, opened in 1990.
In addition, Stallone has starred in "Get Carter," "Cliffhanger," "Demolition Man," "The Specialist," "Assassins." "Daylight," and in the challenging and compelling role of Freddy Heflin in the Miramax feature film "Cop Land," which has garnered him international acclaim from audiences and critics alike.
Winner of the People's Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture Actor, Stallone was recently given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the USA Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films.
Stallone is one of the founding partners of Planet Hollywood. the internationally famous chain of entertainment complexes. Among other principals in Planet Hollywood are producer Keith Barish. The Rank Organization. Robert Earl. Arnold Scwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.