Sylvester Stallone is famous the world over for his tough guy roles in movie franchises like Rocky and Rambo, but before he hit it big in Hollywood, his old dog, Butkus, was his biggest fan.
The actor recently paid tribute to his beloved Bull Mastiff, sharing how his best friend supported him through the lean years and inspired his story of a struggling boxer who becomes a success.
“When I was 26, totally broke, going nowhere VERY fast, owned two pair of pants that barely fit, shoes that had holes in them and dreams of being successful were as far away as the sun,” Stallone writes on Instagram. “But I had my dog, BUTKUS, my best friend, my confidant, Who always laughed at my jokes, and put up with my moods, and was the one living thing that loved me for who I was!”
Stallone continued his story, sharing how when he was working on writing Rocky, he made a heartbreaking decision.
“Since I never went out, I relied on his companionship, and actually it was his idea to write Rocky, but don’t tell anyone,” writes Stallone. “Years later when things got even worse I had to sell him for $40 in front of a 7-Eleven store, because I couldn’t afford food, then like a modern day miracle, the screenplay for Rocky sold, and I could buy him back, but the new owner knew I was desperate, and charged me $15,000…He was worth every penny!”
Butkus would later have an acting role the movie and never again part from Stallone.
Here are some clips of Butkus in Rocky.
It’s been a while since Stallone said a final farewell to his old dog – who is said to have died more than 30 years ago. But it appears that Butkus still lives large in his friend’s heart.