Remembering Burt Young: ‘Rocky’ Star and Academy Award Nominee Passes Away at 83

Burt Young as Paulie Pennino in Rocky


In a somber moment for fans of the iconic ‘Rocky’ film series, Burt Young, the actor renowned for his unforgettable portrayal of Paulie Pennino, Rocky Balboa’s best friend and brother-in-law, bid farewell to this world at the age of 83. Burt Young’s daughter, Anne Morea Steingieser, confirmed his passing on October 8, 2023, as reported by the New York Times. Although the cause of death remains undisclosed, Young’s legacy and contributions to the entertainment industry shine brightly.

Burt Young's Early Life and Career

Born as Gerald Tommaso DeLouise in Queens, New York, on April 30, 1940, Burt Young’s journey into the limelight began after serving in the United States Marine Corps. He embarked on his acting career in the early 1960s, appearing in various films and television shows before earning his breakthrough role in the original ‘Rocky’ movie released in 1976.

Rocky's Beloved Paulie

Burt Young’s portrayal of Paulie Pennino received both critical acclaim and commercial success. His exceptional performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He reprised the role of Paulie in five sequels: ‘Rocky II’ (1979), ‘Rocky III’ (1982), ‘Rocky IV’ (1985), ‘Rocky V’ (1990), and ‘Rocky Balboa’ (2006). Young’s magnetic on-screen presence and heartfelt portrayal of the character endeared him to audiences worldwide.

Beyond the 'Rocky' Legacy

While Young is most recognized for his role in the ‘Rocky‘ franchise, he also left a notable mark on the entertainment world with appearances in other films and television shows. Some of his standout works include ‘Chinatown’ (1974), ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ (1984), and ‘The Sopranos’ (2000-2003). Additionally, Young showcased his versatility by venturing into writing and directing, contributing to films such as ‘The Backyard’ (1980) and ‘The Shoemaker’ (1982).

A Remarkable Filmography

Burt Young’s illustrious career encompassed over 100 films and television appearances. Among his most memorable works are ‘Chinatown’ (1974), ‘The Gambler’ (1974), ‘The Killer Elite’ (1975), and, of course, ‘Rocky’ (1976) and its sequels. He also shone in films like ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ (1984), ‘The Pope of Greenwich Village’ (1984), ‘Last Exit to Brooklyn’ (1990), ‘Mickey Blue Eyes’ (1999), ‘Transamerica’ (2005), and ‘Win Win’ (2011).

A Gritty and Realistic Actor

Burt Young’s hallmark was his gritty and realistic acting style, often portraying working-class characters. His authenticity in roles endeared him to both fans and critics alike. His talent extended beyond acting, as he ventured into writing and directing, creating a lasting legacy in the entertainment industry.


The passing of Burt Young marks a significant loss to the world of film and television. While he will forever be cherished for his role as Paulie Pennino in the ‘Rocky’ series, his multifaceted career has left an indelible mark on the industry. Burt Young’s legacy is a testament to his talent and dedication, and his memory will live on through his remarkable body of work.

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