Obituary: Tony Burton, film actor

Picture: Getty
Picture: Getty
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US character actor, comedian and former boxer who starred as Stallone’s trainer and cornerman in the first six Rocky films

Tony Burton, film actor.

Born: 23 March 1937 in Flint, Michigan.

Died: 25 February 2016 in Menifee, California

Tony Burton, a veteran character actor best known for brief but memorable turns as a tough, no-nonsense trainer and cornerman in Sylvester Stallone’s first six Rocky films, has died at age 78.

Burton died of pneumonia last Thursday at a Southern California hospital, his wife, Aurelain “Rae” Burton, said on Friday.

Failing health had prevented him from appearing in Creed, the seventh “Rocky” movie.

“People would always ask him, ‘What’s Sylvester Stallone like,’ his wife recalled with a chuckle. “He’d just say, ‘Sylvester’s a nice guy.’ That’s all he’d ever say.”

Burton, a former boxer himself, had a long career as a character actor. He appeared in The Shining and Stir Crazy and was one of the ballplayers in the 1976 film The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings. He was a regular in the television series Frank’s Place and appeared in Chicago Hope, The Rockford Files and Sanford and Son.

His last major film was 2006’s Rocky Balboa, in which he prepares the nearly 60-year-old Rocky Balboa for an exhibition against the current champion.

Born and raised in Flint, Michigan, Burton was a top Golden Gloves boxer in his youth and had a brief professional boxing career.

In addition to his wife of 36 years, he is survived by his son, Jomo and daughters Juanita and Christal. Another son, Martin, predeceased him.