American actor best known for films like the Rocky series, the Rambo series, the Expendables series, Cliffhanger, Demolition Man, Judge Dredd and Cobra. In a 1991 interview with Longevity magazine he said "I'm 5'10"
and in a 1993 edition of the New York Times added a fraction, saying "I'm exactly 5 feet 10 1/2 inches"
. The highest he has claimed - quoted in a 1978 Playboy interview - was that "I'm five feet ten and three quarters tall."
Cinema.com, on meeting him, said "Sly, shorter than you expect at 5-foot-eight"
, which he once even mentioned himself: "I'm shorter and skinnier than you Expected"
. His footwear has always been a source of contention and in a 1990 Chicago Times article, the journalist mentioned "The real-life Rambo is an official 5 foot 10 1/2 inches tall, but that is with the generous boost of what can only be described as elevator shoes"
. Indeed, a specialist Italian shoemaker once commented that he "made him 4.5 inches taller for 16 years!"
, although that might be a bit of an exaggeration.
In the screenwriter William Goldman's book 'About Lies Stars Tell', he revealed his own estimation of Sly's stature, saying "I had a hot lead that Sly was 67 inches,"
revealing his source to be someone who also stood around that height and had jogged with Sly one morning. Goldman goes on to describe how he went into a swimming pool that Sly was in...and about 10 minutes later, "He (sly) got out, grabbed a towel. I got out, grabbed a towel. He stood. I stood. Sixty-seven inches. Dripping wet."
An ex-partner of Sly - Supermodel Janice Dickenson - claimed in her book 'Everything about me is fake' that when Sly was trying to pick her up, she recalled "Who was this guy to go dissing me while he's standing there in his custom-made elevator shoes."
and also that "I couldn't believe how short he was"
. Another actress, Melinda Dillon - from F.I.S.T - commented in The Chicago Tribune that "I'm taller than Sly and that bothers him and we kid about it so I take off my shoes in some scenes. I can't slouch or I wouldn't be Anna. She's very upright."
Fellow action stars have even chimed in on his hard-to-pin-down height, most notably Belgian superstar Van Damme, who once said "I'm 5-foot-10, a good size for movies. If you're too big a guy, it's hard to find good villains. That's why Stallone always has good villains. He's short."
Sly with brother Frank
Photo by PR Photos