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).
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- 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.