“Burt Young, Iconic ‘Rocky’ Films Actor, Passes Away at 83

Burt Young, the actor who played Paulie in six “Rocky” movies alongside Sylvester Stallone, and earned an Oscar nomination for his role in the 1976 original, has passed away at the age of 83, as confirmed by his daughter Anne Morea Steingieser to the New York Times.

In the first “Rocky” film, Young received praise for his performance as Adrian’s brother. He portrayed a complex character who was defeated, resentful, loyal, and bitter, often hurting those close to him. The New York Times, while giving the film a harsh review, acknowledged Young’s effectiveness in his role as Rocky’s loyal but rough-around-the-edges friend.

Young’s character, Paulie Pennino, was known for defending Rocky when others insulted him. However, he had his share of problems, including shouting at Adrian during her pregnancy, which resulted in the premature birth of Rocky’s son. He also got Rocky involved in street fights and contributed to the Balboas’ financial troubles in “Rocky V.” In “Rocky Balboa” (2006), Paulie returns to his job at the meat-packing plant but loses his skepticism about Rocky’s comeback and becomes his cornerman. Young did not appear in the 2015 film “Creed,” as the character Paulie was said to have passed away in 2012.

Burt Young was a prolific actor who excelled at giving depth and sympathy to roles that might not have deserved it. He often played tough, gruff characters with more personality than expected.

In a 1977 film called “The Choirboys,” Young stood out in his role as a crass police sergeant who revealed a tender side unexpectedly. He also appeared in the film “Convoy” (1978) and played a chauffeur in “Back to School” (1986).

Another example of his talent was in the 1981 film “All the Marbles,” where he played an oily wrestling promoter with a supporting role that earned praise. In Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in America” (1984), Young had a memorable scene as a mobster who told a risqué story. He also played Bed Bug Eddie in “The Pope of Greenwich Village” (1984). In “Last Exit to Brooklyn” (1990), Young portrayed Big Joe, a violent but caring man who worried about his family during a strike. In “Mickey Blue Eyes” (1999), he played the big boss of a mobbed-up family. In the film “Transamerica” (2006), Young played a crass parent alongside Fionnula Flanagan.

He had a role in “Win Win” (2011), where he played an Alzheimer’s-afflicted client of Paul Giamatti’s character. Young also appeared in “Rob the Mob” (2014), a crime drama. He briefly ventured into television with the NBC comedy “Roomies” (1987), which lasted only eight episodes. Young had roles in TV movies and made guest appearances on shows like “Tales From the Crypt,” “Columbo,” “The Outer Limits,” “Russian Doll,” and “Walker, Texas Ranger.” In a 2001 episode of “The Sopranos,” he played the father of a character, and his role led to some unexpected consequences in the storyline.

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