Tony Burton: Trainer Duke in Rocky Movies, Dies at 78 and Twitter Mourns his Loss

Tony Burton, who played the tough-talking boxing trainer Duke in six of the “Rocky” movies with Sylvester Stallone, died on Thursday in a California hospital, his family said. He was 78. The cause was complications of pneumonia, Aurelian Burton, his wife of 36 years, said. She said her husband had been in and out of the hospital recently while struggling with various ailments, including a bladder infection and adverse reactions to a cholesterol medicine. He had also been falling, she said. Mr. Burton’s daughter, Juanita, said he was suffering from dementia.

While Burton initially played Creed’s trainer, he later trained Rocky himself after Apollo died at the hands of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Carl Weathers, the actor who played Apollo Creed, eulogized Mr. Burton on Twitter on Friday. Here are some of the most poignant tweets and quotes about Burton.

Personally I loved him in Rocky IV when he gives Rocky a pep talk telling him he’s gonna have to go through hell. And second, I absolutely loved him coining the phrase “hurtin bombs” in Rocky Balboa. We’re gonna miss Burton. He was a great actor. And my all-time favorite moment is in the original Rocky when Duke tells Apollo, “Hey Champ, I think you better take a look at this guy. He looks pretty serious.”

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