Burgess Meredith as Mickey Goldmill
|Last appearance||Rocky III (physical) |
Rocky IV, Rocky V, and Rocky Balboa (flashbacks)
|Portrayed by||Burgess Meredith|
|Occupation||Professional boxing trainer (formerly professional boxer)|
|Relatives||Rocky Balboa |
Robert "Rocky" Jr.
|Height||5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)|
|Born||April 7, 1905|
|Died||August 15, 1981 (aged 76)|
Michael "Mickey" Goldmill was 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 catch phrases helped make him highly recognizable as well as a common source of parody and satire in pop culture.
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Mickey may be based on Charley Goldman. Both were bantamweights, were Jewish, and have similar-sounding names. In addition, Goldman was the boxing trainer of Rocky Marciano, on whom Rocky Balboa is 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 (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.").
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 his fictional opponent, Ginny Russell, 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 either 1898 or 1899. However, his memorial plaque says 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. Although, in Rocky III, his headstone mentions that he died in 1981, which still would've made him 76, keeping in line with the Rocky "universe", and not real life.
In Rocky, Goldmill 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. Goldmill does not treat Balboa with much respect, and evicts him from his locker at the gym. Deep down, however, Goldmill wants Balboa to fulfill his great potential.
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 Balboa does not agree or disagree initially, Goldmill angrily states that there will be no rematch and that Balboa won the fight. Eventually, after Creed's efforts at publicly embarrassing Balboa into a fight, Goldmill again becomes Balboa's trainer for the rematch. For the second fight with Creed, Goldmill utilizes unique training methods (such as chasing and attempting to catch a chicken) to help Balboa gain speed. He also converts 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 takes place and, after an almost double-KO, Balboa remains standing and wins.
In Rocky III, Goldmill trains Balboa to a series of successful title defenses before both men decide it is time for them to retire (Goldmill, now living with the Balboas in a mansion outside of Philadelphia, is suffering heart problems by this time, though he keeps this hidden from Balboa). Against the Brutal Challenger James "Clubber" Lang accuses the two of avoiding him. Finally, Balboa agrees to face Lang in a fight which he figures will be his last title defense. Goldmill tells Balboa that he will have to go it alone if he decides to fight Lang, later admitting that all of his challengers were hand-picked "good fighters", not "killers." Balboa is eventually able to convince Goldmill to train him anyway, with the promise that this would be their last fight.
The matchup is set for 15 August 1981. Shortly before the fight, Balboa and Lang's entourages get into a scuffle and Goldmill, trying to break it up, is pushed against a wall and suffers a heart attack. Balboa tries to get the fight called off due to Goldmill's condition, but Goldmill refuses to allow him to stop now. His condition worsens throughout the fight, which only lasts two rounds before Lang knocks Balboa out, but Goldmill refuses to go to the hospital until the fight is over.
Eventually, the former champion returns to the dressing room to speak to Goldmill. Balboa tells his trainer that the fight ended in a second round knockout but does not tell Goldmill that he lost. Balboa then tries to convince Goldmill that they need to go to the hospital, but he doesn't make it. Instead he tells Balboa, "I love you, kid" and dies. He is interred in a Jewish mausoleum outside of Philadelphia, the private service attended by Balboa, his wife Adrian, his brother-in-law Paulie and Goldmill's longtime friend and cornerman Al Silvani. Balboa later defeats Lang in a rematch with the help of his former nemesis Apollo Creed and his trainer Tony "Duke" Evers.
Meredith reprises the role of Mickey Goldmill in Rocky V, in a flashback to Balboa's first fight with Creed. Goldmill gives Balboa 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.
This was the last time Burgess Meredith appeared without the use of archival footage, as he died in 1997.
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.
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