Tony Burton, best known for playing Apollo Creed’s boxing trainer, Tony “Duke” Evers, in the “Rocky” films, has died. Burton was 78.
Burton, who also appeared in films such as “The Shining,” “Stir Crazy,” “The Toy” and “Assault on Precinct 13,” was also a former football player and boxer. Carl Weathers, who starred as Apollo Creed in the franchise, tweeted the news Thursday evening, saying, “Sad news. RIP Tony Burton. His intensity and talent helped make the Rocky movies successful. #BePeace.”
The studio behind the “Rocky” films, MGM, also tweeted out their respects to the actor, saying, “Rest in peace, Tony.”
The Flint, Michigan native had been in and out of the hospital recently, his younger sister Loretta Kelley told local news site MLive.com in Michigan. His official cause of death has not been revealed.
Kelley said that due to her brother’s ailing health he was not able to see the Rocky spin-off, “Creed.”
“There’s a scene in the restaurant of that movie where his picture is on the wall,” Kelley said. “We didn’t talk about [‘Rocky’] a lot. I mean we were excited, but other people were more excited. Whenever he would come home other people would just come over.”
His “Rocky” co-star Sylvester Stallone is currently nominated for Best Supporting Actor for the film.
Before becoming an actor, Burton won two light heavyweight boxing titles in 1955 and 1957.
For the past 30 years, Burton had been residing in California with his wife, Rae. His son Martin died in 2014 at the age of 43 after suffering a heart attack.