Sylvester Stallone introduced the character of boxer Rocky Balboa in 1976. Now, all these years later, Stallone is about to appear on screen as Rocky for the SEVENTH time. Lee Cowan has our Sunday Profile:
"Yo! How ya' doin'!"
Go anywhere in Philly with Sylvester Stallone and you might as well be with Rocky himself.
Like the statue at the foot of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, at 69 Stallone is a fixture here. "I tell ya', I don't go, 'Hey, I look pretty good!'" he laughed. "I swear to you, I wish I was that noble."
It's as if Rocky was flesh and blood. People come here to pose, and run those famous steps. "I was always drawn to this place," Stallone said. "I thought it was the best-kept secret in Philadelphia."
"So what do you think when you stand up here now? It's become such an iconic thing," said Cowan.
"It's my favorite place ever. I swear. I feel like, you could do anything from up here. You can see your whole life out there."
Rocky has been Stallone's life -- much of it anyway.
The last time he played Rocky was nearly a decade ago - the sixth in a franchise some critics thought should have heard the bell long ago.
"Think about this scenario. You're 60 years old, you want to play a fighter. That's a tough sell!" he laughed.
The toughest sell of his life, as it turned out. But "The Italian Stallion" got one last fight, and Stallone got to give his character a fitting farewell.
"I thought 'I'm done,' and Rocky in a sense waves goodbye to the audience, and I was waving goodbye myself. It was sort of a mutual farewell."
But then, director Ryan Coogler -- a "Rocky" fan since childhood -- reached out to Stallone with an idea for "Creed," a boxing film that turns the spotlight onto the son of Rocky's longtime rival, Apollo Creed.
Played by Michael B. Jordan ("Fruitvale Station"), Creed's son has heart, but he needs a trainer and a mentor.
He got one in Stallone -- both on-screen and off-.
"Oh my God, did he take a beating!' said Stallone. "I sort of exacerbated the situation because I wanted him to get hit a little bit. I said, 'It's a right of passage, Mike. You have to get clocked.'"
"Because YOU did," said Cowan.
"I did! Mr. T, Dolph Lundgren, Carl Weathers, these are behemoths, and every one of them teed off on me at least once. Oh, absolutely! You went home trying to figure out why am I listening to country western music backwards and don't know my own zip code? It was -- oh my God!"
As a boy Stallone didn't really look the part of a guy who could take a punch. "I had a lot of nerve. But I didn't have a lot of physicality."
His birth in a small clinic in New York's Hell's Kitchen didn't go as planned.
"They put in forceps, 'cause I was twisted, and the forceps ... instead of under here, it caught me here, so I have this crooked mouth."
It damaged a facial nerve on his left side.