The story goes that Stallone sold his dog outside a liquor store for $50 in the early 1970s because he was broke and nearly homeless. Then, once the actor managed to write and sell the script for “Rocky,” he bought the dog back for $15,000 so it could star in the upcoming movie.
The basic facts of the story are true. Stallone and his wife moved from New York to Hollywood with his bullmastiff, Butkus, in the mid 1970s, Stallone said in an interview:
“On our way from New York to Hollywood to seek our fortune, the heat became so intense that we had to pack old Butkus in cracked ice for two days. I promised him that if we survived, he’d someday get treated like a king. But I almost changed my mind when he practically got us killed in a wildlife preserve. An exceptionally large ostrich decided to peck him to death and attacked the car. Rather than being diplomatic, Butkus jumped out in a counter attack and I practically got slaughtered trying to separate them. By the time I got him back in the old car for a quick escape, the thing stalled and a herd of unhappy buffalo descended and attempted to upset the car with us in it. In the middle of all that confusion, Butkus jumped in the back seat and went to sleep.”
Then, six months before Stallone hit it big with “Rocky,” he sold his dog to a family to help make ends meet. Stallone eventually talked the family into giving Butkus back so that he could star in the movie, the actor explains:
“The other family had owned him for six months,” Stallone says. “They weren’t exactly thrilled, but I said, ‘Please.’ I said, ‘This dog belongs in the movie.’ He had suffered along with me for two years. I said, ‘Please let him have a shot in the movie.’”
Mercifully, the family relented and Stallone’s dog starred in two “Rocky” films. He even appears in the credits as Butkus Stallone.
So, it’s true that Stallone sold his dog before his big break. But Stallone didn’t sell his dog to an unknown man outside a liquor store, and there’s no proof that he paid 15,000 to get Butkus back, as the eRumor claims.
Pop question: your dog and a stranger are drowning, who do you save?