Burt Young, the Oscar-nominated actor who portrayed Paulie Pennino in Sylvester Stallone‘s Rocky movies, passed away aged 83 on October 8th. The actor died in Los Angeles, with no specific cause of death or location yet given.
With a catalogue including more than 160 appearances on film and TV, including Chinatown and Once Upon a Time in America, Young’s finely tuned demeanour of a tough guy served him a long and fruitful career in Hollywood.
He also demonstrated a gift as a writer, penning the script for and then starring in 1978’s Uncle Joe Shannon, which was directed by Joseph C Hanwright and told the tale of a jazz trumpeter who finds redemption after teetering on the edge of personal and spiritual collapse.
Young will be remembered most fondly, however, for his role as Paulie – the brother of Rocky’s love interest, Adrian, and the butcher who gives the boxer the idea to use hanging beef as a punching bag.
It was for his role as Paulie that he received an Academy Award nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actor’. The actor’s death was confirmed by his daughter, Anne Morea Steingieser, in a statement made to the New York Times.
Speaking about his long-time friend and creative collaborator, Rocky star and creator Stallone said, “You were an incredible man’s and artist, I and the world will miss you very much.”
Young, widowed since 1974 when his wife Gloria died, is survived by a brother, Robert, and a grandson.