Burgess Meredith as Mickey Goldmill
|Last appearance||Rocky III (physical)
Rocky VI (flashback)
|Portrayed by||Burgess Meredith|
|Occupation||Professional boxing trainer (Formally professional boxer)|
Robert "Rocky" Jr.
|Height||5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)|
|Born||April 7, 1905|
|Died||22 August 1981 (aged 76)
Michael "Mickey" Goldmill is a fictional boxing trainer created by Sylvester Stallone and portrayed by Burgess Meredith in the Rocky film series. The character's gravelly voice, intense demeanor and popular catch phrases helped make him highly recognizable, as well as, a common source of parody and references in pop culture.
Mickey may be based on Charley Goldman. Both were bantamweights, had Jewish ancestry, and have similar sounding names. In addition, Charley was the boxing trainer of Rocky Marciano, whom Rocky Balboa is based on. 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 (ex. "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."). His sense of wisdom and gruff, no - nonsense attitude are based on Cus D'Amato.
According to his memorial plaque, Mickey Goldmill was born on 7 April 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. Goldmill recalled that he once knocked an opponent out of the ring the same day that Luis Firpo did the same to Jack Dempsey 14 September 1923. Goldmill 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 K.O.'s), 1 Loss. Some time after his retirement (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 Goldmill's actual birth year. In late 1975, he tells Rocky that he's 76 years old, which would have meant he was born in 1899. However, his memorial plaque says he was born in 1905.
In Rocky, Mickey manages his gym. 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 who subsisted on fighting local boxers. Due largely to this, Mickey does not treat Balboa with much respect, telling him most of the fights he has are with bums; he evicts Rocky from his locker at the gym by having his belongings removed, placed in a bag, and hung on a set of hooks known as "skid row" in the locker room. Although Rocky does not understand why Mickey treats him the way he does (because he wants Rocky to fulfill his great potential), Mickey eventually yells at him in front of the rest of his fighters over the way his career turned out.
When heavyweight champion Apollo Creed gives Balboa an unlikely shot at the title, Goldmill approaches him about being his manager. Based on their uneasy prior relationship, Balboa is initially resistant, but ultimately agrees to let Goldmill train him. The fight takes place 1 January 1976 at the Philadelphia Spectrum. While Balboa loses the fight 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 picks up directly after the first film. Creed challenges Balboa to a rematch while Balboa is still in the hospital. Although Rocky does not agree or disagree initially, Mickey angrily stated that there would be no rematch and that Rocky won the fight. Eventually, after Creed's efforts at publicly embarrassing Balboa into a fight, Mickey again became Balboa's trainer for the rematch. For the second fight with Creed, Goldmill utilized unique training methods (such as chasing and attempting to catch a chicken) to help Balboa gain speed. He also converted Balboa from a left-handed fighting style to a right-handed style in an effort to both confuse Creed and to protect an eye Balboa had badly injured in the first fight. The rematch took place, after an almost double-KO, Rocky remained standing to become the winner.
In Rocky III, Goldmill trained Balboa to a series of successful title defenses before both men decided it was time for them to retire (Mickey, now living with the Balboas in a mansion outside of Philadelphia, was suffering heart problems by this time, though he kept this hidden from Rocky). Determined and controversial challenger James "Clubber" Lang accused the two of avoiding him. Finally, Balboa agreed to face Lang in a fight which he figured would be his last title defense, partially on the basis of Lang's open taunts and goading of Rocky in front of press at a public event. Goldmill told Rocky that he would have to go it alone if he decided to fight Lang, later admitting that all of his challengers were hand-picked "good fighters", but not killers." Balboa was eventually able to convince Goldmill to train him anyway, with the promise that this would be their last fight.
The matchup was set for 22 August 1981. Shortly before the fight, Balboa and Lang's entourages got into a scuffle and Goldmill, trying to break it up, was knocked to the ground, suffering a heart attack. Rocky tries to get the fight called off due to Mickey's condition, but Mickey refuses to allow his fighter to stop now and tells him to fight. His condition worsens throughout the fight, which only lasts two rounds before Rocky gets knocked out by Lang, but Mickey refuses to go to the hospital until the fight is over and Rocky is at his side.
Eventually, the former champion returns to the dressing room to speak to Mickey. Rocky tells his trainer that the fight ended in a second round knockout but does not tell Mickey that he lost the fight, preferring to have him believe they won. Balboa then tries to convince Mickey that they need to go to the hospital, but Mickey doesn't make it. Instead he tells Rocky, who saw him as a mentor and father figure, "I love you, kid" and shortly after takes his last breath, dying with Rocky by his side at the age of 81. He was interred in a Jewish mausoleum outside of Philadelphia, the private service attended by Rocky, his wife Adrian, his brother-in-law Paulie and Mickey's longtime friend and cornerman Al Silvani. Rocky later avenged Mickey's death by defeating Clubber Lang in a rematch with the help of his old nemesis Apollo Creed and his trainer Tony "Duke" Evers.
After Apollo Creed was killed in the ring by Ivan Drago, Rocky contemplated recent events in his life such as Apollo's death and Mickey's death (of which archival footage was used). Due to both former boxers now being deceased, Tony "Duke" Evers became his new trainer and would for the remainder of the series.
It's revealed in Rocky V that Mickey left his gym to Rocky's son, Robert. By doing this, it kept the IRS from seizing control of the gym after Rocky goes bankrupt due to his accountant's bad deals and tax evasion history. After going into bankruptcy from inability to fight with brain damage, Rocky went back to the old gym and had a flashback to a training session with Mickey (which Burgess Meredith reprises the role for) before his fight with Apollo Creed (though it's unknown if this is the fight in Rocky or Rocky II). Mickey then gave some important life lessons to Rocky and gave him a necklace that belonged to Rocky Marciano and was passed on to Mickey. Rocky began to feel responsible for Mickey's death again.
Rocky tried to replace his guilt by taking in Tommy Gunn and training him but Tommy abandoned him for another manager named George W. Duke. Rocky began to blame himself but a blow out argument between him and Adrian made him see reason and finally move on from Mickey's death. Later an enraged Tommy Gunn challenged Rocky to a street fight which extended out to the front of Mickey's gym. In said fight Rock began to see images of his former mentor telling him to get back up which helped Rocky win said fight.
This was the last time Burgess Meredith appeared without the use of archival footage as he died in 1997.
Rocky mentions Mickey to some customers at his restaurant while telling the stories of his fights with Apollo. While reflecting on the old days and the anniversary of Adrian's death, Rocky passes past the old gym and says "how you doing Mick" just like in Rocky V. Rocky also comments that the place is falling apart. During Rocky's fight with Mason "The Line" Dixon, he once again sees visions of Mickey one last time which motivates him to keep moving forward and to go the distance with Dixon.
Mickey appears in the video games Rocky and Rocky Legends, 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.