Toxic legacy of famous fathers: After the death of Sylvester Stallone's son Sage, how having a celebrity dad can have a huge effect on their children
01:20 GMT, 18 July 2012
As Hollywood tableaux go, the tragic scene outside the apartment of American actor Sylvester Stallone’s son Sage could barely have been more ironic.
When the coroner arrived to collect the body of the 36-year-old, who lay undiscovered for four days after his death from a suspected pills overdose last Friday, another bus pulled up alongside.
On board were tourists brandishing cameras on one of the city’s many star-spotting guided tours, their bus having suddenly diverted there following the breaking news about Sage.
Happier times: Having failed to step out of the shadow of his famous
father, Sage Stallone died surrounded by empty pill packets, cigarette
butts and drink bottles, in his 1.3 million Hollywood Hills home
Only in death had the failed actor found a fraction of his father’s fame.
And this is Tinseltown in a nutshell, for wealth and privilege have often done very little to protect the children of the famous struggling for recognition.
Indeed, the fame has sometimes been as much of a curse as a blessing. How tragic — but almost typical — that it took his sad demise for anyone to show much of an interest in Sage Moonblood Stallone.
Having failed to step out of the shadow of his famous father, Sage died surrounded by detritus — empty pill packets, cigarette butts and drink bottles — in the messy bedroom of his 1.3 million Hollywood Hills home.
That same year, Sage was also said to be devastated when his father dropped him from another instalment of the Rocky boxing movie franchise, despite casting him as his screen son in the 1990 sequel Rocky V.
In recent years, Sage has been trying to build up his firm, Grindhouse Releasing, which restores old horror films, with titles such as Cannibal Holocaust.
However, he is alleged to have been going through serious financial problems.
For his part, Stallone confesses his attempts at a reconciliation with Sage had not been smooth. ‘They are not as seamless as I hoped,’ he has said.
‘There’s always the excuse he’s had a bad childhood. But I think there is a point at which you have to say: “You’re right, it was screwed up. You were denied love and respect. But now you must move on.” ’
What a shame that it seems the troubled Sage did not seem to be able to take his father’s advice.
But then showbusiness is littered with the unhappy tales of the children of stars who have wilted in the long shadow of their famous parents — and Sage is far from an isolated case . . .