Tony Burton, who played the corner man to both Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers in the Rocky film saga, has died at 78.
He played Tony “Duke” Evers, trainer to Weathers’ Apollo Creed in the original 1976 movie and its 1979 sequel. After that character’s death in 1982’s Rocky III, his character, joined the team behind Stallone’s Rocky Balboa, where he remained for four more Rocky movies, concluding with 2006’s Rocky Balboa.
MGM, the studio behind the Rocky films, and his co-stars paid tribute to Burton Friday.
Upon hearing the news on Twitter, Weathers wrote, “Sad news. RIP Tony Burton. His intensity and talent helped make the Rocky movies successful.”
Rest in Peace, Tony https://t.co/l9pzR65eCc
— MGM Studios (@MGM_Studios) February 26, 2016
The Rocky films helped the Flint, Mich., native, who had begun acting in 1974, to parlay his two Golden Gloves light-heavyweight titles into a Hollywood career. He was also in 1976’s Assault on Precinct 13 1980’s The Shining and had a steady string of TV guest spots. He retired from acting in 2007, the year after his final Rocky movie.
The timing of his death could not be more dramatic as it comes days before theAcademy Awards, where Stallone is favored to win best supporting actor for the 2015 Rocky spinoff Creed.
Burton never got to see Creed, due to frequent illnesses over the last year, his sister told the BBC.