Burt Young

Active - 1971 - 2020  |   Born - Apr 30, 1940 in New York, New York, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Crime

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Burly Burt Young is best remembered for playing Sylvester Stallone's brother-in-law Paulie in Rocky (1976), a role that earned him an Oscar nomination. He would reprise the role in all of the Rocky sequels. Born Jerrry De Louise in New York City, Young was a student of Lee Strasberg at the Actor's Studio before landing roles in off-Broadway plays. Before studying drama, Young had been a prizefighter, a truck driver, and had done other odd jobs. He made his film debut in The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (1971). Young subsequently went on to have a busy career as a supporting and character actor, typically cast as a thug or villain. In 1978, he wrote the screenplay and starred in the critically and financially unsuccessful Uncle Joe Shannon (1978).

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  • Served in the Marines and was put in the brig in Okinawa for his involvement in a disturbance with anti-American protesters.
  • Fought in 14 professional boxing matches (winning all of them).
  • Started acting in his late 20s by studying with Lee Strasberg, mostly to impress an aspiring actress.
  • Owned a restaurant in The Bronx called Burt Young's Il Boschetto.
  • Made his Broadway debut in Reinaldo Povod's Cuba and the Teddy Bear, which also starred Robert De Niro and Ralph Macchio. 
  • Hosted "On the Couch with Burt Young," a discussion series with celebrity guests, at a New York Hotel in 2002.
  • Close friends with James Caan.
  • Is an accomplished painter, a talent he has been practicing since childhood.