May 8, 2013

Acclaimed Actor Burt Young to Receive Honorary Degree at Adelphi’s 2013 Commencement

Adelphi University will honor Burt Young Burt Young, Academy Award Nominee Adelphi Honorary Degree Recipientfor his accomplishments in acting with a Doctor of Fine Arts degree at Adelphi University’s Commencement on May 19, 2013 in Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale, NY 11553.

Burt Young’s career spans many platforms in show business, including on stage, on screen and in print. He was primarily on the off-Broadway stage before making the leap to film in 1970. Numerous supporting roles preceded his memorable role in Rocky (1976) as Sylvester Stallone’s ill-mannered brother-in-law, Paulie Pennino. He reprised that role in all of the subsequent Rocky sequels while enjoying turns in a wide variety of films and TV series, most notably a guest spot on The Sopranos.

Despite his rough on-screen persona, Mr. Young is something of a Renaissance man in private life. He has written several film scripts, stage plays and a novel. He also has been a painter most of his life and often paints while filming. He performed his one-character play, Artist Found in Port Washington Flats, at Adelphi’s Performing Arts Center on May 1, 2012, where he also spoke with Department of Theatre students.

Born in Queens, New York, on April 30, 1940, Mr. Young began acting after serving in the Marines in the late 1950s. His offbeat delivery impressed audiences in supporting roles for such films as The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, Across 110th Street and Cinderella Liberty.

In 1976, Sylvester Stallone cast Mr. Young in Rocky to play meat plant worker Pauline Pennino, whose sister, Adrian, (Talia Shire) was the object of the pug boxer’s affections. Mr. Young provided the majority of comic relief for the underdog tale while earning him a 1977 Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He also showed his considerable talent as a writer with scripts for the TV-movie Daddy, I Don’t Like It Like This and the feature Uncle Joe Shannon.

Mr. Young busied himself in independent and international productions after the new millennium while enjoying critical accolades for his paintings, which were shown in galleries all over the world. There were also stage appearances in New York and Los Angeles, as well as a few standout film and television roles. He later appeared as himself alongside Sylvester Stallone on the reality series The Contender, before picking up the mantle of Paulie for the sixth and apparently final Rocky film, Rocky Balboa (2006).

For more information and the full day’s program, please contact Adelphi’s Commencement Office at (516) 877-4695 or visit

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Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves more than 8,100 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online.

More than 115,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.