Obituary: Tony Burton, film actor

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

Picture: Getty
Picture: Getty

Tony Burton, film actor.

Born: 23 March 1937 in Flint, Michigan.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.