'Rocky' Star Tony Burton Dies Age 78

The actor, who famously played the role of Tony "Duke,” Ever had apparently been in poor health for the past year. 

By: Pari Heidari, 'Larry King Now'

Tony Burton, famous for playing Rocky Balboa’s trainer, has died at age 78. Along with Sylvester Stallone and Burt Young - who played Rocky's future brother-in-law ‘Paulie’ - Burton’s character, Tony "Duke” Ever, was the only other character to appear in all six movies.
While the cause of death is still unknown, the actor’s sister, Loretta Kelly, has revealed that Burton had been in and out of hospital in the past year. A professional heavyweight boxer in real life, Burton, a Flint, Michigan native, won The Flint Golden Gloves light heavyweight titles in both 1955 and 1957.
In the first two Rocky movies, 'Duke' is Apollo Creed's trainer (Rocky's opponent) before taking Balboa under his wing in the third movie.
Carl Weathers, who played said opponent, tweeted, "Sad news. RIP Tony Burton. His intensity and talent helped make the Rocky movies successful," regarding his co-stars passing. 
Burton's acting career was not limited to the Rocky franchise however. Most notably, the actor appeared in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ and ‘Stir Crazy,’ an 80s Pryor-Wilder movie.

His list of TV work includes roles in KojakThe A-TeamNYPD Blue and Twin Peaks. While his last time on screen was in 2007, as 'Sheriff Stoker’ in the comedy-horror movie ‘Hack,’ he was signed on to appear in 'The Truth About the War in Heaven: Declaration of War.’ Burton does have some screen time in ‘Creed’ - Rocky VII if you will - but only in the form of flashbacks using stock footage from an earlier movie. Burton’s sister said the actor had been in such poor health toward the end of his life, that he wasn't able to see the spin-off before passing away.
See what Andy Karl, who played Rocky on Broadway, had to say about the legendary character and his classic accent when he appeared on 'Larry King Now!'

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

Continue the Discussion