Anthony Burton was born on March 23, 1937 in Flint, MI. Before pursuing a career onscreen, Burton displayed proficiency as a boxer, winning several Golden Gloves championships in the mid 1950s and going on to box professionally for a few years thereafter. Once his athletic career came to a halt, Burton turned briefly to crime, landing in a California prison for three and a half years for robbery. During his sentence, Burton engaged with a psychodrama workshop that led him to a career in acting. He made his screen debut in a supporting role in the Blaxploitation crime drama The Black Godfather (1974), lining projects like "Kojak" (CBS 1973-78), "The River Niger" (1976), and "The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings" (1976) over the following years. He made his breakout with the one-two punch of John Carpenter's "Assault on Precinct 13" (1976), playing prisoner Wells, and "Rocky" (1976), as trainer Duke Evers. The latter became the role for which Burton was best known, as he would revive the character in the five Rocky Balboa films to follow. After "Rocky II" (1979), Burton made a memorable appearance in "The Shining" (1980), playing garage owner Larry Durkin. Throughout the '80s, Burton worked principally as a television actor, guest starring on a variety of sitcoms and dramas, in addition to "Rocky III" (1982), "Rocky IV" (1985), and "Armed and Dangerous" (1986). Burton also costarred as Big Arthur on the short-lived dramedy series "Frank's Place" (CBS 1987-88). He continued to act into the '90s and 2000s, appearing in Steven Spielberg's "Hook" (1991), the crime drama "Black Rose of Harlem" (1996), and "Rocky Balboa" (2006). On Feb. 25, 2016, Burton died at age 78 as a result of pneumonia.
Cast (Feature Film)
Made his acting debut in the Blaxploitation film "The Black Godfather."
Played Duke in the original "Rocky" film and its five direct sequels.