Actor Tony Burton Passes Away

Actor Tony Burton Passes Away

( 4UMF NEWS ) Actor Tony Burton Passes Away:

Tony Burton, the actor who shared the ring with Sylvester Stallone in the first six "Rocky" movies, died in California Thursday. He was 78.

Burton, who played Apollo Creed's trainer, Duke, in the boxing saga had been suffering from undiagnosed health problems for about a year before his death, his sister, Loretta Kelley, confirmed to Michigan Live.

Born in Flint, Mich., Burton brought some off-screen expertise to his role: he was a two-time local Golden Gloves heavyweight champ in the '50s.

Because of those health problems, Burton didn't appear in the most recent addition to the franchise, last year's "Creed," which instead featured Duke's son as a character.

But that didn't stop director Ryan Coogler and Stallone from paying homage to the under-heralded actor.

"There's a scene in the restaurant of that movie (Creed) where his picture is on the wall," Kelley told Michigan Live. "We didn't talk about (Rocky) a lot. I mean we were excited, but other people were more excited. Whenever he would come home (to Flint) other people would just come over."

Though best known for his role in "Rocky," Burton had a long list of credits on his resume, including stints on television series like "Frank's Place," "The Fall Guy" and "Moonlighting."

His later years, though, were haunted by tragedy as his son, Martin, died of a heart attack two years ago at the young age of 43.