Sylvester Stallone has been an A-list movie star for as long as most people can remember. And even those who recall his early work likely think of the film that make him a breakout star, Rocky. Stallone wrote and starred in the classic boxing movie, and was able to parlay his success into a long career, full of blockbusters and box office success. And yet, his first primary acting role wasn’t as the lead in Rocky. Nor was it something similar to many actors before they become famous, where they pop up in a few commercials or a one line part in a TV show. Stallone’s first career role was something a lot more surprising – and shocking! He played the lead in an adult -film in 1970. In this video, we go over the story behind Sly Stallone’s participation in the movie, what became of it, and why he did it. And we’ll also tell you about some other interesting facts about Stallone that you might not know! So stick around, as Facts Verse presents: The Untold Truth of Sylvester Stallone’s Adult Film!
In 1970, Sylvester Stallone was a struggling actor. And when we say struggling, we mean it. He was jobless, and could hardly afford to feed himself. Times like these are trying for anyone, and when you’re an actor, you often have to resort to demeaning and low paying jobs just to stay afloat. The hope is that if you can manage to make ends meet, while leaving enough time for things like auditions, you’ll one day be able to book a role that will get you financially on the right track.
Stallone started out his acting journey by majoring in dramatic arts at the University of Miami. But the acting bug hit him so hard that he decided to stop learning the craft in college and pursue it professionally. So he dropped out of school and moved to New York City to see about being a full time actor.
Of course, that process is a near impossible one, even in the best of times. Stallone soon found himself homeless, and sleeping at the NYC Port Authority. And while he was spending time writing, and trying to find auditions, things weren’t going well yet. The 24 year old was one day offered the lead role in a movie, out of nowhere. He thought perhaps that all his dreams were about to come true, and agreed to read the script. What he quickly found out was that this wasn’t a mainstream film by any stretch. It was an adult film, and a bizarre one at that. It was called The Party at Kitty and Stud’s, and Stallone was offered the role of “Stud.” And as much as he had no desire to be in the adult film industry, he also felt he had no choice. He had run out of money completely at that point. Years later, he spoke about the decision in an interview, saying that his options at that moment were either to take the part, or to rob someone. He said he was fully at the end of his rope. So he opted for the former, and took the part.
The Party At Kitty and Stud’s
In the early days of mainstream adult films, things were quite different than they are now. It wasn’t anywhere as ubiquitous as it is now, and there were elements to it that were still considered an art form. After all, even a low budget adult film required a decent chunk of change to pay for all the equipment, the location, the crew, and the cast. This was long before the days when everyone had access to iPhones and ring lights to film anything they want. We mention this to perhaps cut Stallone some slack for his decision. Not only was he utterly pressed for cash, but it was also a very different type of decision than it would be today. Adult films were still considered artistic by many people. And even if they were horrible, the type of distribution available to these types of films was incredibly limited. So he likely figured it was an easy payday, and that no one would ever see it either way. Stallone was paid $200 for two days on set, which meant he could pay for some essentials until he could land another job.
And had Stallone not ended up becoming a huge success, it’s likely that the movie would never have seen the light of day, beyond whatever small distribution it had in adult theaters in 1970. But when Stallone became a huge star with his movie Rocky, the producers of the film tried to cash in on his success. They retitled it Italian Stallion, which was the nickname he gave to his character, Rocky Balboa, in the hopes that audiences would flock to theaters to see their new action hero in the buff. Fortunately for Stallone, they were wrong. The film tanked, and was soon pulled from theaters again. Unfortunately for him, however, it was uploaded to the internet decades later, and is now available for anyone who does the right type of Google search. So while he dodged the bullet in 1976, the film never fully went away.
Stallone continued to struggle in those early days, after The Party at Kitty and Stud’s came out. He took odd jobs wherever he could find them. One particularly odd one was at the Central Park Zoo, where he cleaned the lion cages. He also had a gig as a movie theater usher, but got the can after they found out he was making money on the side by scalping tickets to the popular showings. But while he struggled to keep a job and make ends meet, he was also hustling to become and actor. On his website it claims that in this early year, he went on ‘thousands’ of casting calls. Finally he broke through a little with a part in the movie The Lords of Flatbush. It was a small part, but it was a start. He also got his first writing credit from that gig, because he wrote some of his characters’ dialogue. Now let’s talk about some random things you might not know about Sly Stallone…
He Started “Sly” Magazine
Stallone decided to start his own magazine in 2004, and he called it Sly. The primary demographic was readers in the 35-54 age range, and not surprisingly, it was a health and fitness publication. Stallone was said to be involved in each issue of the magazine, provide his expertise and editorial help. Unfortunately, the release of the magazine was mired in controversy, because there was an existing internet publication with the same name. The online magazine, Sly, was focused towards women and featured stories on purses, shoes, and other female clothing accessories. The site sued the new magazine for trademark infringement. But a judge determined that since the online Sly was, as he called it “a shoe fetish” site, there was no infringement. Thus Stallone’s magazine could continue undeterred. Sadly, this wasn’t much of a help for Stallone and the makers of the magazine, as it quickly folded from a general lack of interest from readers.
Charlie Chaplin, Frank Capra, and Elvis were fans
When Rocky came out, it was an immediate sensation. It catapulted Stallone into mega stardom, which meant he started get attention from some pretty high profile names. And when he was nominated for both Best Screenplay and Best Actors at the Oscars that year, he joined a list of only two other people who had accomplished that: Orson Welles and Charlie Chaplin. While the film won Best Picture and Best Director, Stallone was on the losing end of his categories. And while he was saddened by that, one silver lining was receiving a hand written letter from Chaplin. In it, the legendary Hollywood star said that the Rocky character actually reminded him of one that he used to play. He invited Stallone to come visit him in Switzerland as well. Sadly, Chaplin passed away before Stallone could make the trip.
Stallone got a similar letter from director Frank Capra, praising him for the movie and the character he created. Capra even noted that it was fitting that Rocky would lose (at the Oscars) and that others would take the glory.
And the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, called up Stallone personally after the film came out. He told Stallone that he wanted to set up a screening for the movie in Memphis. He offered to rent out a theater there just to show it. But Stallone got completely starstruck at the offer. He ended up balking at it, claiming later that he was simply too shy to do a screening with the legendary musician.
A Strange Superlative
Stallone had a rough childhood, to say the least. His parents went through tough times and got divorced, leaving Sylvester to live in various foster homes in NYC during his first years of life. Not surprisingly, he wound up getting into a fair amount of fights on the streets in those days. This was often brought upon by his distinct facial attributes, which led to him being bullied a lot at school. He would often get suspended for being in fights, and was also asked to leave a variety of schools as well. Stallone later said that in Junior High, his behavior was so bad, the teachers voted him, “most likely to end up in the electric chair.” It’s unclear whether or not Stallone was being tongue in cheek with this comment, but it’s certainly an alarming one. Eventually when his parents finalized their divorce, Stallone went to live with his mother in Philadelphia.
Now it’s time to hear from you. Did you know that Sylvester Stallone was forced to take a role in an adult film just to eat? Let us know in the comments section below!