Mickey Goldmill is a fictional character created by Sylvester Stallone and portrayed by Burgess Meredith in the Rocky film series. Meredith was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the first film, as was his co-star Burt Young. The character's gravelly voice, intense demeanor and popular catchphrases helped make him highly recognizable as well as a common source of parody and satire in pop culture.[1][2]

Mickey Goldmill
Mighty Mick
Rocky character
Burgess Meredith as Mickey Goldmill
First appearanceRocky (1976)
Last appearanceRocky Balboa (2006) (archive footage)
Created bySylvester Stallone
Portrayed byBurgess Meredith
In-universe information
Full nameMickey Goldmill
NicknameMighty Mick
OccupationProfessional boxing trainer (formerly professional boxer)
Mickey Goldmill
BornApril 7, 1905
DiedAugust 15, 1981 (aged 76)
Height5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)

Development edit

Mickey may be based on Charley Goldman. Both were bantamweights, Jewish, and had similar-sounding names. In addition, Goldman was the boxing trainer of Rocky Marciano, on whom Rocky Balboa is largely based. Goldman trained Marciano in many ways similar to how Goldmill trained Balboa, such as tying their ankles together with string to teach them to spread their feet at the appropriate width. Goldman was (again like Goldmill) well known for making wise remarks (e.g. "A lot of people say Rocky [Marciano] don't look too good in there, but the guy on the ground don't look too good either.").

Fictional biography edit

According to his memorial plaque, Mickey Goldmill was born on April 7, 1905, to a Jewish family. He boxed professionally from 1922 until 1947 and achieved great athletic success but never gained any measure of fame or material success. Mickey recalled that he once knocked his opponent, Ginny Russell, out of the ring the same day that Luis Firpo did the same to Jack Dempsey: September 14, 1923. He claimed that the reason his victory did not garner any media attention was that he did not have a manager, while Dempsey did. He retired in 1947, with a record of 72 wins, (70 by knockout) and 1 loss. In 1948 he opened a boxing gym in Philadelphia, Mighty Mick's Boxing, and began to train fighters. There is an apparent continuity error on Mickey's actual birth year. In late 1975, he tells Rocky that he is 76 years old, which would have meant he was born in either 1898 or 1899; however, his memorial plaque in Rocky III says that he was born in 1905. It is possible that he lied about his age (stating that he was 23 when he was actually 17) to start boxing and kept up the pretense for the rest of his life.

Rocky edit

In the first film, Mickey manages his gym.[2] One of the regulars in his gym is Rocky Balboa, a local club fighter who had never realized his potential and had instead become a collector for a local loan shark. He does not treat Rocky with much respect, and evicts him from his locker at the gym. Deep down, however, Mickey wants him to fulfill his great potential.

When heavyweight champion Apollo Creed gives Rocky an unlikely shot at the title, Mickey approaches him about being his manager. Based on their uneasy prior relationship, Rocky is initially resistant, but nevertheless agrees to let Mickey train him. The match takes place on January 1, 1976, at the Philadelphia Spectrum. While Rocky loses the match to Creed based on scoring by the judges, he manages to last the full 15 rounds, a first for any of Creed's opponents.

Rocky II edit

Rocky II picks up directly after the first film. Apollo challenges Rocky to a rematch while the two are still in the hospital; Mickey states that there will be no rematch and that, despite the decision of the judges, Balboa won the match. Eventually, after Apollo's efforts at publicly goading and embarrassing Rocky into a fight, Mickey again becomes his trainer for the rematch. For the second fight with a now-determined Apollo, he utilizes unique training methods (such as chasing and attempting to catch a chicken) to help Rocky gain speed. He also converts him from a left-handed fighting style to a right-handed style, in an effort to both confuse Apollo and to protect his right eye in which had suffered a detached retina during the previous match. The rematch takes place and, after a brutal fight that leaves both men exhausted, knocked down and clinging to the ropes in an effort to stand back up, Rocky wins the title.

Rocky III edit

By the start of Rocky III, set almost five years after Rocky won the championship, Mickey has trained Rocky to a series of ten successful title defenses, before both men decide that it is time for them to retire (Mickey, now living with the Balboas in a mansion outside of Philadelphia, is suffering heart problems by this time, though he keeps this hidden from Rocky). As the announcement of Rocky's retirement is made, the brutal challenger James "Clubber" Lang accuses the two of avoiding him, publicly taunting Rocky and making lascivious remarks to his wife Adrian. Finally, Rocky agrees to face Clubber in a match which he figures will be his last title defense. Mickey tells him that he will have to do it alone if he decides to have a match against Clubber, later admitting that all of his challengers were hand-picked, "good fighters" but not "killers" like Clubber. He states that Rocky, when he fought Apollo, was "supernatural", "hard", "nasty" and had a "cast-iron jaw", but has now gotten "civilized" and lost the hunger that allowed him to win. Upon this reveal, Rocky's confidence in himself is damaged greatly, making him even more eager to accept the challenge in order to prove his worth; he convinces Mickey to train him anyway, with the promise that this would be their last match.

The matchup is set for August 15, 1981. Rocky, much to Mickey's frustration, does not take his training seriously, allowing fans to watch him train in a crowded hotel ballroom instead of training in Mighty Mick's. Shortly before the match, Rocky and Clubber's entourages erupt into a pandemonium free-for-all backstage; Mickey, trying to break it up, is shoved against a wall by Clubber, and goes into cardiac arrest. Rocky attempts to call off the match due to Mickey's condition, but he refuses to allow Rocky to cancel the fight. His condition worsens as the match goes on, but Mickey refuses to go to the hospital until the match is over, so the aides begin to keep him on life-support. Rocky, still distraught over Mickey's condition, is not fully focused on the match, is quickly overpowered and takes a merciless beating from his opponent. The fight only lasts two rounds before Clubber knocks him out.

Eventually, Rocky returns to the dressing room to check on Mickey's condition. Rocky tells his trainer that the fight ended in a second-round knockout but does not tell Mickey that he lost. Rocky then tries to convince him that they need to go to the hospital, but instead he keeps talking, some of his last words being "I love you, kid", and dies.

He is interred in a Jewish mausoleum outside of Philadelphia, the private service attended by Rocky, his wife Adrian, his brother-in-law Paulie and Goldmill's longtime friend and cornerman Al Silvani.

Rocky, after having finished grieving Mickey, later defeats Clubber in a rematch with the help of his former nemesis Apollo Creed and Apollo's trainer Tony "Duke" Evers.

Rocky V edit

Meredith reprises the role of Mickey Goldmill in the fifth installment, in a flashback to Rocky first fight with Apollo. Mickey gives Rocky a cufflink that belonged to Rocky Marciano. He tells Rocky never to give up no matter how much he hurts, and tells him he loves him.

It is revealed that in his will, Mickey left his gym to Rocky's son, Robert Balboa Jr. This was the last time Burgess Meredith appeared without the use of archival footage, as he died on September 9, 1997.

Video games edit

Mickey appears in the video games Rocky, Rocky Legends and the mobile game ROCKY,[3] offering advice to the player in between rounds. In Rocky Legends, the player earns money for winning fights, which can be then be used to buy venues or unlock boxers. One such boxer is a younger Mickey Goldmill when he was in active boxing, before he turned to managing.

References edit

  1. ^
    • Peter Bondanella (2005-12-29). Hollywood Italians: Dagos, Palookas, Romeos, Wise Guys, and Sopranos. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 121. ISBN 9780826415448. Retrieved 2016-02-18 – via Internet Archive. Mickey Goldmill.
    • Tim Madigan; Tim Delaney (2009-05-16). Sports: Why People Love Them!. University Press of America. p. 97. ISBN 9780761844907. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
    • Rob Tobin (2007-09-21). The Screenwriting Formula: Why It Works and How To Use It. F+W Media. p. 93. ISBN 9781582974620. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  2. ^ a b James W. Roman (2009). Bigger Than Blockbusters: Movies that Defined America. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 22. ISBN 9780313339950. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  3. ^ "ROCKY". www.rockymobilegame.com. Retrieved 2023-06-24.