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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fan Letters

On a whim, I sent this letter to Stallone today through his website (www.sylvesterstallone.com):

Dear Mr. Stallone,


Last night I was watching INFERNO on NetFlix again (in anticipation of E2), and I noticed something. During a bus ride, you commented on the raucous applause and screaming that can be heard from the crowd outside that “It isn’t me. It took me 30 years to realize it, but it isn’t for me.” You go on to allude that you know most of the adoration is not for Sylvester Stallone, but for the characters you play, most notably Rambo and Rocky.

Now, while I can agree that for a large portion, perhaps even a majority, of younger fans, this may be true, it doesn’t apply to everyone. Some of us “old timers” are screaming for you.

My fandom began with ROCKY III. It was the first movie I was allowed to see in the theaters by myself (I was 11 years old). I’m sure that fact had an impact on how influential it was, but more than that it resonated with me. I made a connection with the character that I wouldn’t really understand until a few years later. From then on, I never missed seeing a movie of yours in the theater (I even saw STOP, OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT). And I have seen the ones I had missed since, many of them several times.

In 1986, I read Jeff Rovin’s unauthorized biography of you, Stallone: A Hero’s Story. And it suddenly struck me some of the similarities we had growing up. Not many, but some. Like you, I was that kid who got picked on when I was little. And like you, I was highly influenced by the cinematic heroes of my day (oddly enough, you provided that role for me). Of course, it didn’t hurt that I bore a close physical resemblance to you (I should show you a comparison of both of us at 15 years old some time).

I will readily admit that not all of your films are so wonderful. However, one thing is perfectly clear to me: YOU are wonderful in them. You may be type-cast, and many may think you are a one-trick pony, but I feel differently. All of your movies, even the balls-to-the-wall action movies, have heart and soul, and you play the characters with gusto and conviction. In my eyes, you are on par with Clint Eastwood. In his heyday he was either “the man with no name” or “Dirty Harry.” And yet, like you, he has pushed beyond that and made some of the most memorable films to date, from both in front of, and behind the camera.

In short, I can honestly say that, while some parts of my life have been influenced by your characters (won my first and only fist fight in high school by going “Rocky” on the guy, and later joined the Army as a paratrooper after seeing RAMBO II too many times), I have always found your own story infinitely more fascinating and inspirational. From your drive to excel physically to overcome what you perceived as shortcomings, to your writing binge and subsequent sale of ROCKY, to the string of movies that cemented you as a Hollywood icon, I continue to be impressed with your positive outlook, and your realistic approach to life in all facets.

So, the next time you are ever in my neck of the woods (which, sadly has yet to happen), I’ll be that guy in the crowd chanting “SLY! SLY! SLY!”

Best regards from a lifetime fan,

I know I probably won't get a reply, and I know he probably won't read it himself.  But, I can always hope and dream, right?  So, have you ever sent a Fan Letter to a celebrity and gotten a reply?

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I sent a fan letter to John D. MacDonald once, got no reply. Sent one to Dean Koontz, got no reply. Sent one, sort of, to Kyle Turley, and got a signed photo of him.