November 9, 1985

Occasionally, my son CD appeared as an extra when his aunt Janet worked as an AD (Assistant Director). She was the 2ndAD on “Rocky IV.”

Janet with the other Assistant Directors from Rocky IV in front of Rocky’s house in Fremont Place. Was actually across the street from Muhammad Ali’s house in that elite enclave of Los Angeles.
Janet with the other Assistant Directors from Rocky IV in front of Rocky’s house in Fremont Place. Was actually across the street from Muhammad Ali’s house in that elite enclave of Los Angeles.
Stallone with 1st Assistant Director, Duncan Henderson
Stallone with 1st Assistant Director, Duncan Henderson

The original idea for the scene CD appeared in was for twelve “extra” kids to surround the two child actors playing Rocky Jr. and his buddy as they all view Rocky’s fight. Due to budget constraints, all the extras except CD were cut. CD got bumped from extra to the day player SAG rate (where you speak) because the scene between the three kids was lifeless until Stallone threw CD some lines. This made CD an “actor” who still gets occasional residuals from “Rocky IV.” Despite the Oscar worthy brilliance of CD’s performance, to this day it remains – sadly – unrecognized by the Academy.

A clip taken from the Rocky IV screenplay
A clip taken from the Rocky IV screenplay

I wasn’t on set that day, J acted as CD’s guardian.   A father and son day.  What could be better?

J and CD between scenes on Rocky IV
J and CD between scenes on Rocky IV – Awesome son, awesome dad – both still are

Although Janet worked with Stallone on several projects, my path never crossed his – a little unusual, since I’ve met more than my share of movie stars – Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Halle Berry, Robert Duvall and George Clooney, among others.  By “met”, I mean I said hello. None of these “meetings” led to soul-searching conversation, a lunch date or an invite to a wild weekend at Hearst Castle. (To be clear – Hearst Castle’s Hollywood heyday ended decades before my birth – but I wish I’d been around. What a blast!)

Stallone directing CD and the other two boys
Stallone directing CD and the other two boys

It always amazes me that at 5’9” in bare feet, I tower above most leading men. Trust me, with notable exceptions (hello Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery), actors are rarely the tallest kids in their class.

The Official Rocky IV Movie Magazine with the boys picture on page 14
The Official Rocky IV Movie Magazine with the boys picture on page 14

My point is, movie stars look so much bigger on screen. Many (hello, Halle Berry) are more beautiful than most of the human race. They’re stars (and I’m not) because the camera loves them – and, yeah, they can act. That said, I take comfort in the miniscule height differential. It reminds me we’re all equal, all mortal, earthbound humans. Their outer golden glow doesn’t mean they’re any happier than the rest of us, deep inside.   But they might be. I don’t know. We never got that tight.