Movie superstar Sylvester Stallone addressed the recent death of his son right at the outset of his appearance Wednesday night on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
It’s the kind of topic that’s awkward for a late-night talk show because hosts such as Jay Leno and David Letterman prefer to keep the subject matter lighthearted and comedic, if at all possible.
But when a high-profile guest comes on, who has recently experienced a personal tragedy, it becomes difficult to address the tragedy, and then move on to the lighter stuff.
For Wednesday’s “Tonight Show,” the strategy seemed to be: Deal with the recent death of Stallone’s son, Sage, 36 — who was found dead in his L.A. apartment just about four weeks ago — right at the beginning of Sly’s appearance, get it out of the way, and then move on.
“I know this is not an easy time for you,” Leno said to him, just after Stallone came on stage and sat down. “Does it help to be busy out promoting the movie?” The movie is “The Expendables 2,” an action flick opening Friday (Aug. 17) in which Stallone, 66, co-stars with other aging action-movie legends Arnold Schwarzenegger, 65, and Jean-Claude Van Damme, 51.
“Yeah, when life hits you pretty hard you can either just go into a dark corner or you say, OK, fine, I’m going to try to find something to focus on,” Stallone said. “And you have your children and you have your wife and you just try to be supportive of other people too because I know a lot of people go through it that don’t get the attention like I do. And I feel for them because it’s one club that no one ever wants to be a member of.
“But I think about [Sage’s] memories, a lovely boy, and I will always cherish that.”
Then the two moved on to a discussion about the movie. Among other things, Stallone discussed his long rivalry with Schwarzenegger and even offered his own impersonation of the action star and former California governor.