HOW JEWISH IS… SYLVESTER STALLONE?
The series in which we investigate the Semitic qualities (or otherwise) of someone in the news this week
Sylvester Stallone has taken the brave step of attempting to pass for a heavyweight boxer at the age of 60 in the final (he says) instalment of the Rocky series, Rocky Balboa. The critics have generally been kind to Stallone (see our review on page 43). But will the success of the movie, in which an ageing Balboa returns to take on the new heavyweight champ, persuade Stallone to come back one last time to perform the Zimmer frame shuffle or storm the old folks home as Rambo? While you ponder this, we attempt to discover whether there is anything remotely Jewish about the Italian Stallion.
Stallone, for all his Italian mannerisms and Sicilian looks, is part Jewish, albeit a small part. His great grandmother on his mother’s side was one Rosa Rabinovich from Odessa, Ukraine. Furthermore, Stallone is a New Yorker — and you cannot grow up in the Big Apple without absorbing a little Yioddishkeit. Also, Stallone is a university graduate with an ’ology (well, nearly, he dropped out of college in Miami in his third year). Not to mention that boxing is actually an honourable Jewish profession with many top exponents — Ted “Kid” Lewis, Jack “Kid” Berg, Gary “Kid” Jacobs. So why not Sly “Kid” Stallone?
Sly’s full name is Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone — Italian enough for you? His acting is the very antithesis of Woody Allen — all macho posturing and blue-collar angst. Take Rambo, for example: what Jewish soldier would ever go rampaging into another country in an attempt to rescue a kidnapped comrade (er, except the Israelis, perhaps)? Oh, and here’s the clincher. He owns a bull mastiff called Butkus.
He’s a part-Yiddishe Zayda from New York working in Hollywood. How Jewish do you want?