Adrian Pennino

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Adrianna "Adriane" Balboa
Rocky character
First appearance Rocky
Last appearance Rocky V (physical)
Rocky Balboa (flashback)
Created by Sylvester Stallone
Portrayed by Talia Shire
Gender Female
Occupation Pet Shop employee
Spouse(s) Robert "Rocky" Balboa Sr.
Children Robert "Rocky" Jr. (son)
Relatives Paulie Pennino (brother)
Nationality American

Adrianna "Adriane" Balboa (née Pennino) (March 10, 1950 - January 11, 2002) is a fictional character from the Rocky series, played by Talia Shire.[1]

Shire was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Adriane in Rocky. The final scene in Rocky II, in which Rocky yells "Yo Adrian, I did it!", has been named by film enthusiasts as one of the most iconic quotes in sports film history.[2][3]


Originally, Stallone offered Carrie Snodgress the role of Adrian, but she turned it down due to the low salary she was offered. Susan Sarandon was considered, but she was turned down because she was deemed too pretty to play the mousy character of Adrian. Talia Shire then auditioned for the role, and was selected.[4][5]


She was the shy wife of two-time heavyweight champion Rocky Balboa, and the younger sister of Paulie Pennino. She started working in a pet shop, where Rocky would visit frequently needing food for his domestic turtles. The two were brought into a relationship by her brother Paulie.[6]

They went to an ice rink on Thanksgiving Day where Rocky told her about his fighting career and his style. She asked him why he wanted to fight and he said that his father told him he had no brains and should develop his body. Adrian was surprised, as her mother said that she wasn't much of a body person and should develop her brain. As the two begin dating, she manages to give Rocky one of the pets in the shop; Butkus. On Christmas, an inebriated Paulie overhears her conversation with Rocky about Paulie's interferences. An enraged Paulie physically threatens her and Rocky with a sawed-off baseball bat, only for Adrian to stand up for herself. Then he reveals that she is not a virgin and he would let other people use her, which sends Adrian crying, running towards her room and Rocky stopping the tirade and offers her to stay at his apartment. Before the fight, Adrian decides to stay in Rocky's locker room. As the rounds went by, she eventually comes out during the 14th round. As she witnesses Rocky get knocked down by the hands of Apollo Creed, she briefly closes her eyes in silence. At the end of the fight, Rocky calls out for her and Adrian rushes toward the ring, losing her hat along the way. As Paulie is denied entrance into the ring by security, she manages to slip inside the ring when he pulls up the ropes. While Creed is announced the winner, she appears to Rocky, to which he asks where her hat was, only for her to express her love for him.

After being released from the hospital following his fight, Rocky proposed to Adrian at the Philadelphia Zoo and the couple were married on February 8, 1976. With his earnings, they manage to find a new home and a new Pontiac Firebird. That next month, they discovered that they were expecting a baby. After an attempt to appearing in commercials to capitalize on his newfound fame, Rocky struggles to look for other jobs with decent pay, making him hand down his Pontiac to Paulie. When Rocky announces to agree to the rematch, Adrian tries to discourage him, and takes up her old position at the pet shop. Due to the amount of stress and other issues, she collapses in the shop, and prematurely gives birth to a boy, causing her to slip into a coma. Rocky becomes distraught and promises to stay with her until she awakens. In addition to Rocky, she is also visited by Mickey and Paulie. A week later, she regains consciousness, and sees Rocky by her bedside and Mickey behind him. They both see their newborn son for the first time, to which she suggested that the baby should be named after his dad; Robert Balboa, Jr. Soon after, Adrian tells Rocky to win for her, giving her blessing for him to fight. On the night of the rematch, she stays home along with Paulie to watch after her son. Watching the final round, she becomes shocked as both Rocky and Apollo hit the canvas. Both men slowly attempt to get back on their feet, but Rocky emerges victorious by one second. Adrian and Paulie celebrate and begin to shed tears of joy as Rocky calls out for her in victory.

With 10 title defenses, the Balboas live a more extravagant life and they move in Mickey, as well. Adrian, along with Rocky and Mickey, attended the unveiling of a bronze statue in honor of Balboa at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Jaded by the generosity of the city, Rocky announces his plan to retire from professional boxing. With the crowd in disbelief, a young boxer, Clubber Lang, comes forth and challenges Rocky. Mickey interferes for the sake of Rocky's well-being and leaves when he and his student reached a disagreement, Lang sexually harasses Adrian while an enraged Rocky is restrained, and agrees to the match. With his preparation open to the public, Rocky is not able to train seriously for the fight. While his female fans would try to get close to him, Adrian would remain silent, watching in the background. Just minutes before the fight, Lang verbally lashes out at Rocky, creating a scuffle in which Lang shoves Mickey down to the floor. This causes Mickey's heart to quickly fail. Being escorted back into the locker room, Rocky becomes worried and plans to cancel the fight but Mickey tells him pull himself together, to which Rocky would ask Adrian to stay with him until a doctor came. Only she, Rocky, Paulie, and Al Savani (his cutman) gathered for Mickey's burial. Adrian tags along with Rocky and Paulie as they travel to Los Angeles to train with Apollo Creed for a rematch. Noticing that her husband is not giving his complete focus, Adrian confronts Rocky on the Santa Monica Beach. In the argument, Rocky reveals that he is afraid of losing but Adrian ensures that they have everything that they have ever dreamed, such as fame and fortune, and that she will always be there for him; win or lose. Motivated from this, Rocky goes on to regain his title from Lang.

Following her wedding anniversary, she and Rocky are visited by Apollo Creed, who has intentions to come out of retirement to fight a young newcomer from the Soviet Union, Ivan Drago. After hearing his reasons, Adrian tries to discourage Creed and tells him that she deeply cares about his well-being. Despite her suggestions, an exhibition between the two materialize. Adrian attends the press conference, sitting with Apollo's wife, Mary Anne. Witnessing Apollo's death, she also attends his funeral alongside her husband. Sometime later, Adrian is notified by the press of Rocky announcing his plans to face Drago on Christmas in Russia. That night, she and Rocky argue about the risks, telling him that this is a fight he cannot win. Weeks after Rocky left with Paulie and Tony "Duke" Evers to Russia to train, Adrian surprises him there and reassures that she will always be with him, no matter what. During the fight, Drago overpowers Rocky, making it difficult for her to watch. But after a moment of punishment, Rocky delivers a punch that cuts Drago underneath his eye, causing Adrian to shout at Rocky to hit him, thus evening the playing field. After a war, Rocky wins by knockout in the final round.

In the locker room, she sits with her husband, showing signs of complications. Upon their return to the United States, they reunite with their son, Robert, and hold a subsequent press conference. With questions about the complications were brought forth, she quickly denies it and states that her husband was in perfect condition. But Rocky is interrupted by fight promoter George Washington Duke in hopes of creating another lucrative match, Adrian takes the podium to announce that Rocky was retired, which stuns the audience. Finally settling back home, Rocky overhears her and Paulie arguing about a life-changing situation. Paulie inadvertently has Rocky and Adrian give their accountant power of attorney. The accountant subsequently embezzled the Balboas' money in a housing deal that goes sour, costing the Balboas their fortune and virtually all of their assets. Rocky tell Adrian he wants to fight again to recoup their assets, but she request that he should be tested with his physician's approval. Due to the amount of punishment he sustained, Rocky was diagnosed with a form of brain damage. While Rocky tries to go against his physician's orders, Adrian reassures him that they could make it through. From their lavish lifestyle, they return to the streets, moving into Paulie's old house in South Philadelphia. Returning to her job at the pet shop, she and Rocky would be cornered by Duke. Rocky would consider offers, but Adrian would deny all of them as she knows its a matter of money and Rocky would be disabled even more. She was skeptical when Rocky brought in a boxer from Oklahoma, Tommy "the Machine" Gunn, to stay with them. With Rocky spending his time focus on Tommy, it creates a rift between Rocky and Robert. Duke managed to catch Tommy's attention, which causes him to separate from his mentor. Adrian comes to Rocky's aid following his dispute with Tommy. Rocky saw their relationship as another way of winning, getting back to the life they once lived, but Adrian attests to that, citing that the partnership was actually destroying their family and should he pass down values, he should pass it on to his son. From this, Rocky calms down and reconciles with Robert. As Tommy and Rocky engage in a street fight, she is notified by Robert and the two make their way to the scene. Adrian is last seen walking away with the family in high spirits after Rocky emerged victorious.

In the years since, Rocky managed to open a small Italian restaurant, named after her. The walls of the restaurant showcases pictures of Adrian, Italian heritage, as well as Rocky's sports memorabilia, such as ringside photographs, clippings from newspapers, paintings, and his championship belts.

In autumn 2001, Adrian discovered she was dying from ovarian cancer. She underwent chemotherapy, but it was not enough to save her. She died peacefully in her sleep on January 11, 2002 with her family by her side, aged 51.

Other media[edit]

In the 2012 Broadway musical based on the first Rocky film, Adrian Pennino was portrayed by Margo Seibert.[7]


  1. ^ Seán Crosson (2013-07-18). "Sport and Film". p. 1949. Retrieved 2015-12-29. 
  2. ^ Iconic Quote accessed 1-4-2016
  3. ^ Talia Shire as Adrian biography accessed 1-4-2016
  4. ^ Rocky Casting Might-Have-Beens accessed 1-4-2016
  5. ^ The films of Avildsen accessed 1-4-2015
  6. ^ Peter Bondanella (2005-12-29). "Hollywood Italians: Dagos, Palookas, Romeos, Wise Guys, and Sopranos". p. 119. Retrieved 2015-12-29. 
  7. ^ Broadway Direct:Rocky accessed 1-4-2016