If I had a trout pout like her I'd kill myself: Remember that amazing photo of Sly Stallone's mother Jackie at 90 It was actually someone else! And the real Mrs Stallone (who's even more, ahem, striking) is on the warpath…
02:40 GMT, 11 September 2012
On the surface, it was one of Hollywood’s most hilarious mix-ups.
Onlookers at the premiere of Sylvester Stallone’s latest film were transfixed by the lady-of-indeterminate-age teetering up the red carpet in a mini-skirt, all lips and lashes.
Crikey! Jackie Stallone, Sly’s flamboyant mother (aged 90), had never been a shrinking violet, but this was downright shocking.
'Old hag': Jackie Stallone's verdict on her supposed lookalike Ivone Weldon (pictured left)
And what on earth had she done to her
face The pictures of the trout-pout went winging their way around the
world, trumpeting everything that is grotesque about Hollywood.
There was only one problem — they weren’t actually of Jackie, but of a fellow guest.
And La Stallone was miffed for two reasons: first that the whole world could have so easily thought the ‘ugly hag with a mouth that could swallow a whale’ (her words, not mine) was her; second, and more pressingly, that she was depicted as cavorting around on the red carpet at such a time.
In fact, she had been at home, nursing her dying daughter, Toni Ann.
‘I’d actually been on the phone to the paramedics that night because she was so bad,’ she tells me. ‘There was no question of me ever going to that premiere. I’d told Sylvester that I wasn’t going to be able to make it because I had to be with his sister.
‘He got the shock of his life when he got told that his mother was up ahead of him, making a spectacle of herself. That’s the last place I would have been.’
When I speak to Jackie, it is clear that her daughter doesn’t have long. She says herself it ‘could be hours, or days’.
Toni Ann D’Alto — an actress and model — does indeed pass away in the days after we speak.
Despite the traumatic circumstances, there are still sparks of the old Jackie, but mostly she sounds lonely and drained when talking about her daughter, whose lung cancer ended her life at the age of 48.
Jackie's appearance on Celebrity Big Brother was orchestrated to cause waves with her former daughter-in-law
‘The cancer spread to her brain,’ says Jackie. ‘She can’t feed herself. I wipe her face, I spray her perfume. I give her apple sauce. I talk to her, hold her hand.
‘She doesn’t know who she is any more. When she could talk, she would come out with strange things. Once she said I had too many boyfriends in the house. There was no one — only my three dogs.
'My husband (her third, doctor Stephen Lavine) isn’t even around much. I tell him to eat at a restaurant instead of coming home, because it is easier.
‘Her son is staying with me, too. He is 18, and I don’t know what I am going to do with him. It is so awful. She is too young.’
Although she likes to think of herself as a celebrity in her own right, it’s her status as matriarch that has always defined Jackie Stallone. She was the one who encouraged her sons Sylvester and Frank (a singer-songwriter) into showbusiness.
Their half-sister, Toni — the product of Jackie’s second marriage, to Anthony Filiti — was never a household name, but she was as talented in her mother’s eyes.
Jackie describes herslef as one of the most foremost astrologers in the U.S. and foresaw the deaths in her family
‘She was the top model in Europe, you know,’ she says. ‘Such a beautiful girl, and a beautiful person. She turned heads wherever she went.’
There has been much tragedy in the Stallone household of late. In July, Jackie lost her grandson. Sage Stallone, Sly’s 36-year-old son from his first marriage, was found dead in his home.
Despite rumours of a drug overdose, the official cause of Sage’s death was heart disease. He’d been diagnosed with a heart murmur aged ten, but such a death at 36 must have come as a tremendous shock.
Jackie — who describes herself as one of the foremost astrologers in the U.S. — talks of having foreseen the loss of both her grandson and daughter.
‘Such tragedy — and I knew it was coming. I knew that two members of my family were going to die, but not which two, or how.
That was torment. I don’t want to even talk about astrology any more because of it. What does it matter’
‘I’ve always been such a positive person. I’ve had it all. People say that when God closes one door he opens another. I can’t for the life of me think what door he is going to open now.’
Yet her spirit isn’t entirely broken. For all her sadness, Jackie is still able to smile, and it is talking about her famous son that causes her to laugh for the first time during our interview.
She hoots when she imagines how he must have felt when he saw ‘that old hag’ on the red carpet and realised that the world thought it was his mother.
‘My son is the vainest person in the world — after me. Can you imagine his shock when he saw this woman who was supposed to be his mother
'He’s spent his whole life telling people how beautiful I am; how he takes after me. He has always boasted about how he got his lips and legs from me.
‘Now I’m tempted to say he actually looks more like her. Maybe our babies were switched at birth.’
Quite how the other woman, Ivone Weldon (whose son Les Weldon was a producer on the film), feels about being mistaken for nonagenarian Jackie remains a mystery, though if she has the misfortune to read Jackie’s comments she may have something to say on the matter.
Jackie insists today that her looks are all natural – 'apart from the chemical peels. I do have them. Actually, I invented them. All the doctors now use them'
It’s fair to say that Jackie was not flattered when the pictures emerged. For a minute, the old Jackie — acerbic, ranting, a little deranged — is back, as she recalls seeing them.
‘What an ugly woman. Fat arms. Trout pout. Horse face. I thought a face like that went out with the Ice Age. And those bandy legs! If I had a kid with those legs, I would break them and have them put in braces.’
‘If I had a face like that I wouldn’t leave the house — or at least not without a paper bag over my head. In fact, if I had a face like that I’d probably shoot myself.
'To be honest, in the end — after I got over the shock — I found it funny. I haven’t had a lot to laugh about recently.’
Of course, some may feel it’s a little rich for Jackie to be hurling brickbats at other women of a certain age, given that her relationship with the cosmetic surgeons of Beverly Hills has long been questioned.
She insists today that her looks are all natural — ‘apart from the chemical peels. I do have them. Actually, I invented them. All the doctors now use them’.
Indeed, her confidence in her own looks knows no bounds.
‘I could pass for 60, and any woman would kill to have legs like mine. I’ve been compared to Betty Grable. I still do trapeze. And my legs are straight.’
Talking to her, you never quite forget that although she spent much of her life working as a hairdresser, she did once run away to join the circus.
Jackie at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival
Since then, her life has been anything but conventional. She worked as a dancer, then organised bouts of female wrestling. Now she purports to be an expert in the art of rumpology, — telling a person’s fortune by examining their bottom, in the same way you would read a palm.
M ostly people don’t know what to make of her. Her appearance on Celebrity Big Brother (where she was brought in to cause waves with her former daughter-in-law, Brigitte Nielsen) was simply bizarre.
She admits she had no idea what she was getting into: ‘They told me I’d have conversations with ten of the cleverest people on the planet. I didn’t realise they meant ten of the stupidest. If I’d known Brigitte was going to be there, I’d never have done it.’
Although Brigitte was horrified to find her there, too, they actually got on well afterwards, and Jackie says she has been saddened by the fact Brigitte is once again struggling with old alcohol issues (she was pictured swigging spirits in a park recently).
‘I became quite good friends with her. People thought we were enemies before, but we were never enemies. They weren’t married for long enough for that! I like her. I enjoy her personality and zest for life. She has a big heart.’
What of Sly’s third wife, Jennifer Flavin, with whom he has three children Does she know her well ‘She is quiet. But I make it my business not to get friendly with the wives any more. Mothers-in-law don’t have a good reputation.’
Wow, she certainly has mellowed.
Yet, inevitably, the matriarch of the Stallone family is suddenly feeling every one of her 90 years — even if she can still get up on that trapeze, and hasn’t lost her acerbic tongue. She says she doesn’t know how she will go on without her daughter, and believes her heart tablets are getting her through each day.
When her time comes, she says, she would like to die like another wild-haired and eccentrically dressed American lady — comedienne Phyllis Diller, who passed away last month at the age of 95.
‘I envy her because she went in her sleep. I want that,’ she says, uncharacteristically quietly. But for all her sorrow at the moment, one feels it won’t be long before this nonagenarian rumpologist is putting the world to rights again — you can bet your bottom dollar on that.