Sylvester Enzio Stallone (1946- ) celebrates his birthday today. He was born in the dangerous streets of New York's Hell's Kitchen and studied drama at the University of Miami, though he was discouraged from pursuing acting by his teachers.
"I grew up with a profound complex of inadequacy and I thought the only way to override that was through creating an imposing exterior," Stallone has said.
So he pumped his body up into Rocky Balboa and John Rambo, creating larger-than-life superheroes, becoming an international superstar. Stallone's characters celebrated the underdog, overcoming great odds and soaring in the face of adversity.
In 1976, Stallone wrote the Rocky script and refused to let any one else play the role of the prizefighter.
In Rocky's words, "believe in yourself, and you can do anything".
He is also a painter who began painting at college, earning enough money to make it to Hollywood.
"If you lead with your heart, it will carry you much further than your brains will," he said.
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