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‘Rocky’ star Tony Burton dies at 78

Anthony “Tony” Burton, known to many as Duke Evers of the Rocky films, passed away yesterday in California. The death was confirmed by Burton’s sister Loretta and Rocky co-star Carl Weathers.

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Burton was born March 23rd, 1937 in Flint, Michigan.  He became a Michigan Golden Gloves boxing champion and was an exceptional all-around athlete was a teenager.

His 6-foot, 200 pound frame made him an ideal boxer.

According to Burton’s Wikipedia page, after winning the Flint Golden Gloves light-heavyweight championship in 1955 and 1957, he went pro in 1958, amassing a 16-3-0 record, and winning the Arizona light-heavyweight championship. But life got tough after boxing and Burton served three and a half years for robbery at the California Institution for men in Chino, California.

Burton used incarceration to get himself together. He obtained both his high school diploma and a degree from the University of California.  An experience during workshop therapy helped guide him towards acting.

His show business career started in 1974. During the Rocky saga, he guest-starred in numerous shows, including Good Times, Kojack, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Rockford Files, Sanford and Son, A Different WorldIn the Heat of the Night and NYPD Blue.

He is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio.

Burton is survived by his wife Rae.


Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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