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Sylvester Stallone bought his dog back when Rocky made him rich

Before Sylvester Stallone made Rocky, he was so broke, he was forced to sell his dog. He ended up buying him back and putting him in the movie.

Sylvester Stallone and his dog in Rocky

Sylvester Stallone has been working for decades to earn respect in Hollywood. Despite creating the characters and writing the screenplays for the highly successful Rocky and Rambo action movie franchises, directing eight movies, and putting in critically-acclaimed performances in the likes of Cop Land and Creed – he is still frequently treated like a joke.

Stallone had to work his way up from nothing in Hollywood. Speaking to ShortList in 2013, Stallone said; “I came into Hollywood through the service entrance. If there’s a place below the basement, that’s where I was. And yes, the first thing I did was a nude film for 200 bucks [Stallone appeared in 1970 softcore porn flick The Party At Kitty And Stud’s]. That’s why I was never ‘critically acclaimed’.”

I didn’t work my way through certain acting establishments or BAFTA or, what do you call it? Royal… [puts on hoity-toity English voice] RADA! It’s been a real grind. I never really learned how to act; it was on-the-job training.” Stallone wrote the script for Rocky in three-and-a-half days in a seedy apartment and the rest, as they say, is history.

Stallone was so broke before making Rocky, that he was forced to sell his dog. “I sold my bullmastiff Butkus to a little person. [Turns to his publicist] You can’t use the word ‘dwarf’ any more? Let’s just say a little person. I tied my dog up at the store with a sign that said a hundred bucks. I got $50 from this guy called Little Jimmy.”

He continues; “When I sold the Rocky script, I went to see Little Jimmy and begged for the dog back. He lined up his children [Stallone mimes crying], “Oh my kids love the dog.” I said, “You’ve only had him for a f*ckin’ week!” He wanted to fight me and he said he was gonna kill me – he was a crazy little person! I couldn’t fight him – they’d arrest me – so I offered to pay double. Anyway, $3,000 and several threats later…”

Stallone ended up putting both Butkus the bullmastiff and Little Jimmy in Rocky; “I ended up putting him [Jimmy] in the movie. Do you remember in Rocky, when the little guy goes, “Hey, did ya win?” and I go, “What are you, deaf?” and he goes “No, I’m short.” That’s him.”

Check out our guide to the best drama movies.