Portrait of Burt Young: The Beginning
I had never imagined I would be presenting a portrait of Burt Young to the man himself. I had the honor of being introduced to the amazing Burt Young. Burt is an incredible man and a talented artist. I am paraphrasing a bit here, but he told me that all he needs is a canvas and some colors and he is happy as can be.
After spending some time with Burt and getting to know him a bit I decided to start my painting of him. I pick one of the original Rocky films where he portrayed Uncle Paulie. I felt this was such a great way to immortalize him because it is such a classic character. He seemed to like it very much and that is my story, I am sticking to it!
About Burt Young
Burt Young was born April 30, 1940 in Queens, New York. Known for his role as Paulie in the Rocky films, Young has appeared in numerous films including The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight (1974), Convoy (1978), Mickey Blue Eyes (1999). At age 15, Burt Young dropped out of school to join the Marines. On and off screen Young tried different roles; Young himself was a boxer.
A true boxing aficionado, Young also appeared in 14 professional boxing matches, all of which he won. Young has also boxed with legend Muhammad Ali to raise money for a charity event; the two became good friends. Burt Young began his acting career taking dramatic arts training under legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg at the Actor’s Studio. Initially Young reached out to Strasberg in an attempt to impress a young girl he liked. Strasberg agreed to meet with Young after reading his letter, and invited him to take lessons.
Later, Young caught the attention of Sylvester Stallone as Mac in the 1975 film The Killer Elite. Young landed the part as Rocky’s supportive yet rough-around-the-edges Italian-American brother in law in the hit film Rocky in 1976. Rocky was a success and Burt Young was nominated as Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in the 1976 Oscar awards. Burt continued the role of Paulie throughout the next 5 Rocky installments. This roll has spanned close to 40 years and created the iconic character “Uncle Paulie”.
Read more about Burt Young here.