Sylvester ("Sly") Enzio Stallone was born on July 6, 1946 in New York City, the eldest son of a chorine and an Italian immigrant. His well-known slurring of speech and characteristic drooping of his left facial features were the result of a severed facial nerve when forceps where used to aid his birth. By all accounts, Sly's childhood was not a happy one, his parents constantly bickered, leaving both Sylvester and his younger brother Frank, largely ignored. In fact, most of Stallone's first five years found him jumping around foster homes. According to Stallone, this is where his interest in acting came from; his attempts to get attention and affection from those strangers who tried to raise him.
At the age of five, the Stallone family packed up and moved to Silver Spring, Maryland. Finally in 1957, the parents divorced, with Sylvester remaining with his stern father. His teen years proved even more traumatic as Sylvester appeared to do anything and everything to get attention, no matter how negative. By the age of 15, he had already been enrolled in 12 schools, and expelled from several of them. His poor grades and ridicule by his peers encouraged him to become a risk taker and developed elaborate fantasies in which he presented himself as a brave hero and champion of the underdog.
In 1961, Stallone moved to Philadelphia to be with his mother and step-father. He was enrolled in Devereaux High School, a facility for emotionally disturbed children. There he participated in athletics and drama. Following graduation, he was awarded a scholarship to attend the American College of Switzerland. While there he was a girls' athletic coach and in his spare time starred in a school production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. The experience inspired him to become an actor and after returning back to the United States, he started studying drama at the University of Miami. In 1969 he decided to return to New York City to pursue his acting career, just a few credits shy of graduation.
While working his way up, Stallone found odd jobs while auditioning for Broadway musicals. The few acting jobs, he did find were often off-Broadway shows like the all-nude Score and Rain. He even resorted to appearing in the infamous softcore porn film, Party at Kitty's and Stud's/The Italian Stallion. His deep voice and awkward face were constant reasons for rejection, although he did land a role in Woody Allen's 1971 movie, Bananas, his rejection for The Godfather led to discouragement.
To cope, Stallone wrote scripts - lots of scripts. Some were produced, including The Lords of Flatbrush in 1974. He even scored a starring role in 1973 in the movie Rebel. However, his career didn't really take off until he wrote Rocky.
Although a strong story, many studios declined to accept the script because of Stallone's stipulation that he be the star and recieve a share of the profits. Eventually, Producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff accepted Stallone's terms and Rocky was the box office hit of 1976.
With the success of Rocky, Stallone found himself in the Hollywood elite. In the next few years he penned the four Rocky sequels and co-penned the Rambo trilogy. He made his directorial debut with the movie Paradise Alley which he filmed in his old New York City neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen.
Despite professional success, Stallone's personal life was strained. With his first wife, Sasha Czack, who he married in 1974, he had two sons, Sage (who is launching his own acting career) and Seargeoh, the second of whom was diagnosed as autistic in 1982. Eventually the stress of the marrage led to divorce in 1985. Afterwards, Stallone became a favorite topic of the tabloids, with his wild dating. Of particular note was his 18 month marrage to model Brigitte Nielsen, that ended in a well-publicized battle. Eventually, he found 19-year-old model Jennifer Flavin. The two lived together for three years and married in May 1997. By summer's end, they had a baby girl, Sofia, who was born with a hole in her heart (repaired in October of the same year).
Today, Stallone remains relatively out of the limelight. He still remains alive and kicking, most recently in the movie, Shade.