Oscar-Nominated Actor Burt Young, of ‘Rocky’ Fame, Dies at 83

In a somber turn of events, Hollywood bids farewell to one of its legendary actors, Burt Young. The Academy Award-nominated actor, widely recognized for his unforgettable role as Paulie in the iconic “Rocky” film franchise, has passed away at the age of 83. This article serves as a tribute to the life and career of this remarkable artist who left an indelible mark on the world of cinema.

Early Life and Career

Burt Young, born on April 30, 1940, in Queens, New York, began his journey in the entertainment industry with dreams of becoming a renowned actor. He honed his craft in various theaters and small roles, steadily making his way into the world of Hollywood.

A Versatile Actor

Young’s acting prowess was marked by his remarkable emotional range. His performances had the unique ability to move audiences to tears or send shivers down their spines. But beyond his acting skills, what truly resonated with fans was the profound poignancy that emanated from his very soul. Lynda Bensky, his manager, beautifully encapsulated Young’s essence in her statement.

Memorable Roles

Throughout his illustrious career, Burt Young graced the silver screen with a myriad of unforgettable performances. In 1974, he portrayed Curly in the classic film “Chinatown,” sharing the screen with luminaries like Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and John Huston. The same year, he starred as Carmine alongside James Caan in “The Gambler,” a film that delved into the perils of gambling addiction.

The 1970s witnessed Young’s foray into television, with roles in the TV movie “Hustling” (1975) and appearances in series like “Serpico” and “The Rockford Files” (1976). However, it was his portrayal of Paulie, Sylvester Stallone’s cantankerous yet endearing brother-in-law in the “Rocky” franchise, that defined his career. He graced all six films of the series, culminating with “Rocky Balboa” in 2006.

Oscar Nomination and Legacy

Burt Young’s exceptional talent earned him an Academy Award nomination in 1977 for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, an acknowledgment of his outstanding contribution to the first “Rocky” film. His portrayal of Paulie endeared him to audiences and became an integral part of cinematic history.

Sylvester Stallone, in a heartfelt Instagram post, paid tribute to his dear friend, expressing the world’s collective grief at the loss of this incredible man and artist. Burt Young’s legacy will undoubtedly live on, inspiring generations of actors and movie lovers.

Beyond Hollywood

Young’s artistic talents extended beyond the realm of acting. He was also an accomplished painter, showcasing his creativity in various forms of art. In recent years, he made appearances as Joe in two episodes of Netflix’s “Russian Doll,” starring Natasha Lyonne.


Burt Young’s passing leaves a void in the world of entertainment. His remarkable career, versatile performances, and the enduring legacy he leaves behind will continue to be celebrated by fans and the film industry alike. Burt Young’s ability to touch the depths of human emotion through his roles is a testament to his unparalleled talent.


1. What were Burt Young’s most famous roles?

Burt Young is best known for his portrayal of Paulie in the “Rocky” film franchise. He also played memorable roles in films like “Chinatown” and “The Gambler.”

2. Did Burt Young ever receive an Oscar nomination?

Yes, Burt Young received an Academy Award nomination in 1977 for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in the first “Rocky” film.

3. What made Burt Young’s acting style unique?

Burt Young’s acting was characterized by his exceptional emotional range, which allowed him to evoke a wide range of emotions in his audience, from tears to fear.

4. In which other art form did Burt Young express his creativity?

Aside from acting, Burt Young was an accomplished painter, showcasing his artistic talents in the world of visual arts.

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