Has Sylvester Stallone Been Wearing Shoe Lifts All These Years?

Sylvester Stallone has had a long and interesting career in Hollywood. His story is the stuff of legend; the kind that could itself be the basis of a great movie.

By all accounts, Stallone had a troubled and difficult childhood. During his birth, doctors had to use forceps that accidentally caused nerve damage in his face resulting in slurred speech and partial paralysis. His parents' acrimonious marriage made his early life is rough.

A Lifelong Passion for Bodybuilding

After being bullied in school, Stallone decided never to let his diminutive stature get hit in his way again. He began bodybuilding to improve his physique. Without the funds necessary to purchase weightlifting equipment or go to the gym, he had to improvise. Automobile parts from the junkyard and cinderblocks were his weight lifting tools.

A Career in Acting

Despite his speech impediment, partial facial paralysis, and his height, Sylvester Stallone decided to pursue an acting career. He was anything but an overnight success. He struggled through the early 70s with only a few uncredited film roles and brief appearances to his credit.

During this time, Stallone also developed an interest in screenwriting. He wrote a screenplay about a struggling boxer in Philadelphia that caught the attention of producers who pictured Robert Redford or Burt Reynolds in the starring role. The deal could have meant a $350,000 paycheck for Stallone at a time when paychecks were rare. He turned the offer down, opting to stick to his original intention of selling the script only if he played Rocky.

Rocky was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including best actor and original screenplay nominations for Stallone. The movie took home three Oscars, including the best picture of 1976.

A Career That Spans Over 40 Years

The success of Rocky launched Stallone's career as a megastar. Through the 1980s, he dominated the action movie landscape along with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. But through all of this success, his best-loved character remained Rocky Balboa. In the decade and a half that followed the release of Rocky, Stallone would return to the character in four sequels.

How Tall Is Sylvester Stallone?

Throughout his career as an action hero, when Stallone stood toe-to-toe against foes of every kind, he projected strength, power, and toughness. When people meet him in person, they are often surprised by his height. Although the Internet reports that he is 5'10" tall, first-hand reports suggest that he's closer to 5'8."

So, how could he stand up and be menacing in the face of adversaries who would presumably power over him? There has been much speculation that Stallone employed height insoles during filming to make up the difference. As the story of his standing firm to play the part of Rocky confirms, Stallone had an incredible ability to project confidence. Maybe part of his boost in self-assurance came courtesy of shoe lifts.

A Third Act

His career saw a decline in the 90s with critical and box office flops like Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot and Judge Dredd becoming what fans came to expect from Stallone. As he entered his seventh decade, his career experienced an extraordinary resurgence. He returned to his most famous role once again in 2006 for the film Rocky Balboa, only this time with greater success than in previous attempts. He would also soon launch a 3rd massively successful franchise in the form of The Expendables, 3 ensemble films starring a virtual who's who of action film superstars.

The culmination of Stallone's extraordinary comeback came in last year's Creed. Stallone returned to the role of Rocky Balboa for a seventh time. The film met with critical acclaim, and fans and critics alike applauded Sly’s performance. At 69 years of age, he earned yet another Academy Award nomination almost 40 years after his first nomination.