Sylvester Stallone has had a remarkable career, standing out as one of the few A-list actors who had creative direction over the films they starred in. His movies have grossed $4 billion worldwide. Today, Sly Stallone aka The Italian Stallion is worth a staggering $400 million.
Sly Stallone’s Humble Beginnings
Coming from modest roots and born with facial paralysis, his rise to fame — and incredible wealth — is impressive.
Sylvester Enzio Stallone was born on July 6, 1946, in the Hells’ Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. His mother, Jackie, was a dancer, astrologer, and wrestling promoter. Sly’s father, Frank, was a hairstylist. His parents had a rocky relationship before they divorced in 1957. This led to him being put in foster care at times.
He eventually moved to Philadelphia with his mom, where he graduated high school. He attended a university in Switzerland and the University of Miami prior to moving back to New York. Stallone picked up all sorts of jobs including cooking hamburgers, ushering at a movie theater, and cleaning lion cages at a zoo.
When Sylvester was born, his mother struggled with the labor. The doctor used two sets of forceps during the delivery. The forceps severed one of baby Sylvester’s facial nerves, resulting in partial paralysis of his lower left face. This is where he got his “mean mugged” look and distinct way of speaking from.
In 1970, Stallone was in a soft-core adult film called The Party at Kitty. He was paid $200 for two days of work, which he says he did out of desperation after being evicted from his apartment.
Stallone Wrote the Rocky Screenplay in 3 Days
Sly saw a fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner in 1975 and was inspired to write a screenplay. He wrote Rocky in three days and numerous producers were interested in it. The screenplay was sold to Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff. He also negotiated a pay cut in exchange for the producers allowing him to star in his own film. Stallone was only paid about $25,000 for the screenplay but also received 10 net points on the film’s back end.
Rocky went on to make about $225 million worldwide, which resulted in a $2.5 million payout to Stallone.
“I was the luckiest man in the world,” Stallone told Variety. “You have to understand that in the year before I did Rocky, my total income was $1,400 for the entire year. I got $35 a week as an usher. About $100 a month.”
Stallone made $75,000 for Rocky II and $120,000 for Rocky III. Those numbers also don’t account for the millions more he made on the back end.
The Rocky franchise has nine films in total as of today: Rocky I-V, Rocky Balboa, and three Creed spinoffs. A new Creed spinoff, Drago, is currently in the works. Unfortunately, Stallone doesn’t have any ownership of it. But still, he’s made millions from the franchise over the years. The film went on to receive ten Oscar nominations and won three of those.
The Rambo Franchise
Stallone would be set with Rocky alone, but of course he didn’t stop there. As he once wrote:
“Sometimes I wake up I feel like doing nothing. Just relaxing. Just very true. If anyone says different, they’re lying — it’s human nature. Then you roll over, get a little mad at yourself, and realize to get anywhere you’ve got to make a deposit in the GOAL BANK.”
Already a superstar thanks to his first starring role and screenplay, Stallone was thereafter able to make millions with each subsequent role he played. For Rambo: First Blood, The New York Times reports the actor made $3.5 million. The Grunge estimates Stallone’s total earnings from the Rambo series to be between $75-100 million.
Stallone’s Average Salary Today
Stallone is estimated to be paid an average of between $10-20 million per movie these days. In 1996, he received $17.5 million for Daylight. He was reportedly paid $20 each for his roles in Eye See You in 2002 and Driven in 2001. Stallone made about $300 million in base film salaries for his roles from the start of his career through 2012.
Sly Stallone’s Real Estate: Because, Why Not?
While Stallone doesn’t seem to be as invested in real estate as, say, Arnold Schwarzenegger, he has a small list of very big sales and purchases in his repertoire. In 1999, he sold a Coconut Grove, Florida home for $16 million.
In 2010, Stallone and his wife Jennifer Flavin purchased a house in La Quinta, California for $4.5 million. A decade later, however, they only managed to flip it for $3.1 million. They also bought a $35.4 million mansion and property in Palm Beach, Florida in 2020.
What’s more, Stallone recently sold his Beverly Hills mansion to Adele for $58 million. It was the most expensive sale to be made in Beverly Park and it was still sold at a massive discount. The initial asking price was $130 million.
Shortly after the sale to Adele, Stallone purchased the Hidden Hills Estate for $18 million.
Outsider reports that Sly gets paid $1 million per episode for the forthcoming mafia series Tulsa King. It’s set to release on November 13, with the first season containing 10 episodes. The series is set to air right after Yellowstone and will be hosted on Paramount+.