Sylvester Stallone has established worldwide recognition as an actor, writer, producer and director since he played the title role in his own screenplay of Rocky, which won the Academy Award in 1976 for Best Picture.
Born in New York City, Stallone attended school in suburban Philadelphia where he first started acting. He then spent two years instructing at the American College of Switzerland in Geneva.
Returning to the United States, he enrolled as a drama major at the University of Miami and also began to write.
Stallone left college before graduation to pursue an acting career in New York. By 1973, Stallone had auditioned for almost every casting agent in town, but found little success.
During this period, he turned more and more to writing, churning out numerous screenplays while waiting for his acting break.
The opportunity first came in 1974 when he was cast as one of the leads in The Lords Of Flatbush. He also received his first writing credit for "additional dialogue" on this film.
With the money earned from that film, Stallone left New York for Hollywood. He again began to make the rounds to studios and casting
agents, managing to get a few small roles in television and movies.
He also continued to pursue writing. Prizefighter Rocky Balboa was born and given life in a script Stallone wrote in longhand.
Several producers offered to buy the screenplay, wanting to cast a name star in the title role, which Stallone insisted on playing himself.
Although his bank balance was barely $100, Stallone held fast - and his perseverance finally paid off. Stallone's credits as an actor/writer/director are Rocky II and Paradise Alley.
As actor and co-writer, Stallone filmed F.I.S.T., First Blood, Rambo: First Blood, Part II, Rhinestone and Rambo III.
He co-wrote, directed and produced Staying Alive and starred in Nighthawks, Victory, Tango & Cash and Lock Up.
Rocky V, starring and written by Stallone and Ion Avildson, opened in 1990.
In addition Stallone has starred in Get Carter, Cliffhanger, Demolition Man, The Specialist, Assassins, Daylight and in the challenging and compelling role of Freddy Heflin in the Miramax feature film CopLand, which has garnered him international critical and audience acclaim.
Winner of the People's Choice Award for Favourite Motion Picture Actor, Stallone was recently given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the USA Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films.
Stallone is one of the founding partners in Planet Hollywood, the internationally famous chain of entertainment complexes.