Sylvester Stallone is one of the most successful actors to ever make it in Hollywood. However, the road wasn’t easy. To fully understand the effort and hope he had to achieve his dream, you must look at the story of his dog, Butkus.
Back in the day, Stallone was a struggling actor. He was living off of $36 a week. At some point, he got so broke that he was no longer able to feed his family, pay rent, or pay bills.
Stallone’s dog wasn’t eating and was having difficulty with the heat. The heat became so intense for Butkus that they had to cool him down with cracked ice for two days.
Since he couldn’t afford heat or dog food, he sold Butkus to a random man for $60.
Shortly after, he created the script for Rocky. He received high-money offers (rumored up to $360,000). Wow! Perfect for anyone that couldn’t afford food or rent, right?
Nope. For Stallone, there was one major problem. None of the offers guaranteed that he would play the character of Rocky Balboa.
He was relentless in his ultimatum that he would have to star in the movie or he would not sell the script. Stating that he would “never forgive himself” if the script became a success with another actor playing the role.
After six months of living broke and denying massive deals, he finally received an offer (rumored to be $35,000).
When he finally had some breathing room financially, he immediately went back to the man who had purchased the dog he had loved.
However, the owner was not interested in giving Butkus back. When Stallone had explained the situation, the owner agreed to give him the dog back… under one condition. The owner wanted to be in the movie. Stallone stated in an interview that he put him in one of the very first few scenes.
A few other posts and websites claim that the owner also wanted thousands of dollars (between $3,000 and $15,000). However, Stallone has not directly confirmed this.
He did end up reuniting with Butkus in the end!
You can watch an interview with Stallone explaining the incredible story below.