Sylvester Stallone, the legendary actor best known for his iconic roles in movies like Rocky and Rambo, is opening up about a deeply personal and tragic aspect of his life in the documentary Sly. Directed by Thom Zimny, the documentary delves into Stallone’s life, successes, and challenges, and it includes a poignant segment about the death of his son, Sage Stallone, in 2012.
Sage Stallone’s passing was a devastating loss for the Stallone family. The 36-year-old actor died due to coronary artery disease atherosclerosis, which led to a heart attack. Sage had played a significant role in his father’s career, appearing in the 1990 film Rocky V as Robert, the son of Rocky Balboa, a character famously portrayed by his father.
A Strained Relationship
In Sly, viewers are presented with footage of young Sage at the age of 14, acting alongside his father in Rocky V. The film’s storyline revolved around the strained relationship between Rocky and his son, who felt neglected as Rocky devoted more time to training with another boxer than to his own family. Stallone candidly discusses how his personal experiences influenced the creation of this narrative. He explains, “Unfortunately, yes. I try to take something that actually is what I wish I had done in real life, but I wasn’t able to do that in reality. And so quite often I would do it theatrically, magically… A lot of that is true. Unfortunately, you put things before your family. And the repercussions are quite radical and devastating.”
Sage Stallone was found dead in his Los Angeles home on July 13, 2012. The news of his passing sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry, and Sylvester Stallone was deeply affected by the loss of his son. At the time, a representative for the actor released a statement expressing his grief and extending condolences to Sage’s mother, Sasha Czack, who was also Stallone’s former wife. The statement described Sage as a talented and wonderful young man and noted that his loss would be felt forever.
In 1996, Sage revealed in an interview with PEOPLE that the emotional scene in Rocky V where his character confronts Rocky about his absence mirrored his real-life experiences. He candidly admitted that his on-screen outburst was rooted in truth, saying, “When I was screaming: ‘You never spent time with me! You never spent time with my mother!’ that was true. I was looking into my father’s face and really saying that.” Sage went on to explain that the dynamics between him and Stallone changed after filming the movie, allowing them to grow closer. “We broke into tears a few times. After the film, everything changed. We’d do anything for each other,” he said.
An Intimate Glimpse
The documentary Sly not only pays tribute to the acting legacy of Sylvester Stallone but also provides viewers with an intimate glimpse into the personal and often challenging aspects of his life. In addition to Sage, Stallone is a father to daughters Sophia, Sistine, and Scarlet, whom he shares with his wife, Jennifer Flavin, whom he married in 1997. Stallone and Czack, his first wife, also had another son, Seargeoh, who is now 44. Seargeoh was diagnosed with autism at an early age, prompting Stallone to establish a research fund for autism administered under the National Society for Children and Adults With Autism. In the past, Stallone has used the premieres of his films to raise funds for the research fund.
Sly is now available for streaming on Netflix, offering audiences a unique opportunity to explore the life and experiences of the Hollywood icon, including his reflections on triumphs and regrets, as well as the heartfelt discussion surrounding his late son, Sage Stallone.