Actor Burt Young, best known for playing Paulie Pennino in the ‘Rocky’ films, has died at the age of 83. Young’s cause of death was not immediately known; his daughter Anne Morea Steingieser confirmed the news to The New York Times, sharing that Young passed away on Oct. 8 in Los Angeles. Young’s manager Lynda Bensky said in a statement: “Burt was an actor of tremendous emotional range. He could make you cry and he could scare you to death. But the real pathos that I experienced was the poignancy of his soul. That’s where it came from.”
Young, born Gerald Tommaso DeLouise in Queens, New York, was in the US Marine Corps in the 1950s. He was an avid boxer before trying his hand at acting, studying through Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio and going on to build a career playing tough guys in TV shows and films. Young appeared in the first Rocky film in 1976, receiving an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor in 1977 for his role as the friend and future brother-in-law of boxer Rocky, played by Sylvester Stallone. Young portrayed Paulie in all six original Rocky films.
Young also appeared alongside Jack Nicholson in “Chinatown” and with Rodney Dangerfield in “Back to School.” Other film credits include Once Upon a Time in America, Last Exit to Brooklyn and Mickey Blue Eyes, and he worked in television, appearing on The Sopranos, Law & Order, The Rockford Files and M*A*S*H. Young made his name for himself outside of acting as a painter, and exhibited his work at galleries around the world.
Stallone paid tribute to Young on Instagram: “To my Dear Friend, BURT YOUNG, you were an incredible man and artist, I and the World will miss you very much…RIP.” Their ‘Rocky’ co-star Carl Weathers posted on X: “RIP, Burt Young! A beautiful and talented soul. He was such an integral part of the Rocky family. ‘You want the bird? Go get the bird.’ Paulie will be with us forever! #BePeace.”
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