Stallone went from having only $106 in the bank to having a Net worth of $275 million.
There is an amazing rags-to-riches story that has fascinated and motivated me to this very day but that not many people know about. It’s about a beloved actor many of us grew up knowing as Rocky Balboa, the badest boxer in Hollywood. We know him as the action juggernaut from films such as The Expendables, Rambo, and Cliffhanger. He is the great, Sylvester Stallone.
When I was about ten years old my dad put the first VHS of the Rocky Balboa series into our VCR player. We sat back and pressed play and the rest was history. I was hooked in seconds! This was an amazing story of about an average dreamer in Philadelphia and his struggles to becoming a professional boxer. I would hide beneath the couch cushions when I knew Rocky was going to lose and would jump up in joy when he would overcome the odds and beat the obviously more advantaged opponent. Every weekend we would go to the video rental store until we watched all five of the films.
In 1975 though, just one year before the movie debuted, Sylvester Stallone only had $106 in the bank, his wife was pregnant, his dog was starving and he couldn’t pay the rent for his small Hollywood apartment. Did he give up and throw in the towel? Quite the opposite actually.
He managed to get a meeting with a bunch of Hollywood producers, where he pitched the script about the uneducated debt collector turned legendary boxer.
To his surprise, the producers liked it. There was only one catch; they didn’t want him to be in the film. They wanted another popular actor who could draw in crowds of people. They offered him $300,000 (about $1 million today) to sell the rights to “Rocky”.
Would you have taken it? In all honesty I probably would have. When you are beaten down and have so much on the line, sometimes it’s logical to submit and do what seems best right? Wrong. Sometimes in life, you have to be a little crazy in order to make it big.
So what did the big man do? Against all odds and at an incredible risk to himself and his family, he stayed true to himself and turned down the offer.
“It was really insane at the time ’cause I was pretty broke.”
The producers had fallen so in love with the script that they couldn’t bear to let the film slip and finally agreed to have Stallone star as the infamous Rocky Balboa in the film. It absolutely boomed, as In 1976, “Rocky” won three Academy Awards and went on to earn more than $117 million domestically.
Just how Rocky never gave up and persevered to beat all odds in the film, Stallone did the same. What’s the lesson for all of us? Stick to your guns and never give up on your dream. Even when things get tough, stay true to yourself and your dream. We all have to start somewhere.
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