Tony Burton, best known for his pivotal role in the Rocky franchise, has died at the age of 78, USA Today reports.
The actor was most famous for playing Tony “Duke” Evers, the trainer to Carl Weathers’ character Apollo Creed in the original 1976 film. Burton continued the role as Rocky Balboa’s trainer in the next four Rocky films, including his final appearance in the 2006 Rocky Balboa.
News of Burton’s death was confirmed by Weathers and Burton’s sister Loretta Kelley Thursday evening. Kelley told BBC he had not received a diagnosis at that time, but his health was so poor he wasn’t even able to see the successful spinoff film, Creed.
The Flint native was also known for his other films such as The Shining, The Toy, and Assault on Precinct 13, and TV series like The A-Team, NYPD Blue, Kojak, and Twin Peaks. Before Hollywood, Burton was a two Golden Gloves light-heavyweight title winner. His death comes two days before the Oscars, during which Stallone is nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Creed.