Birth Date: April 30, 1940
Birth Place: New York City, New York
Notable Films: Rocky, Rocky II, Chinatown, Win Win
Awards: Academy Award (Best Actor in a Supporting Role | Rocky – Nominated)
Burt Young Biography:
Burt Young was born in Queens, New York, the son of Josephine and Michael Young. He held odd jobs for years, including working as a truck driver, installing carpets, and, fittingly, was also a prize fighter. In 1957, at the age of 17, Young joined the United States Marine Corps and served a tour of duty until 1959. When he returned from his tour, he helped a friend in an audition for Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio. Young was accepted, but his friend wasn’t, and this was the start of his career path as an actor.
Burt began his career, as many performers do, on the stage in New York, performing in off-Broadway plays. After gaining experience and recognition, Young made the transition into motion pictures and played numerous roles as working class Italian-American characters. He played thugs in a number of flicks in the early 1970s, including The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight (1971), and Chinatown (1974). The Killer Elite (1975) would prove to be the role that brought him much wider recognition, and the best was yet to come.
Sylvester Stallone enjoyed Young’s performance in The Killer Elite and offered him the role of Paulie Pennino in Rocky (1976). The movie became a sleeper hit and earned Young an Oscar nomination. He went on to reprise the character in five further Rocky films before Stallone killed Paulie off in 2012. Young also began his career as a writer in the late 1970s, penning scripts for TV, as well as taking roles in Walker, Texas Ranger, and Law & Order.