It was early 1979 and I found myself in a small waiting room at the MGM Studios in Hollywood. I was there to read for the part of a reporter in the sequel to Sylvester Stallone’s Academy Award winning, ROCKY.

When my name was called, I expected to meet with a group of casting directors as is usually the case, but to my surprise, only one person sat on the other side of a small desk — Stallone himself.

His greeting was as warm and down to earth as Rocky Balboa and after telling him a little bit about myself, we got down to business. I can remember him searching through the script to find a part that had the most lines.

"Here, try this," he said in that trademark accent as handed me the page.

One read and that was it.

"Very nice. Are you available next Tuesday?" (Looking back, I’m surprised he didn’t offer to pick me up and take me to the set!)

Just like that, I had been cast by one of the biggest movie stars in the world. I would later find that Sly sees life through the eyes of those on the outside looking in. He believes in opportunity for all.

The scene in the movie takes place at the boxing commissioner’s office as Rocky announces his rematch with Apollo Creed, played by Carl Withers, and was actually filmed in an abandoned bank building in downtown Los Angeles. It took two days to film less than as many minutes.

One of the other actors cast as a reporter was an KABC-TV news anchor and former Miss America, Tawny Little. We had met on the ABC lot while I was hosting segments for ABC-TV’s "Kids Are People, Too!," and ended up hanging out together during most of the Rocky II filming.

Stallone reminded me of someone else who did as much behind the camera as he did in front of it: the late Dick Clark.

Every shot was blocked out carefully and nothing happened until Stallone was ready. Yet, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, knowing that we were working on another possible blockbuster.

When the scene was done, Sly thanked everyone and posed for pictures with a few of the actors, including Tawny and me.

We all met again at the premiere held at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood and received a special gift from Sly: a satin jacket similar to the one he wore in the movie with the Rocky II emblem on the back. It is encased and hangs proudly on my office wall.

Sonny Melendrez Inspirational Speaker | Radio/TV Host | Author

Sonny Melendrez, an award-winning TEDx motivational speaker, media consultant, and inspirational figure, has dedicated over 20 years to uplifting individuals and organizations.

Renowned for his energetic keynote speeches and workshops, Melendrez focuses on empowering associations, educational institutions, and businesses to achieve their fullest potential. His engaging presentations are known for their humor and interactive elements, aiming to inspire transformative changes in careers and lives.

Melendrez's accolades include being twice named Billboard Magazine's "National Radio Personality of the Year" and induction into the Texas Radio Hall Of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as one of the top 100 radio personalities. His broadcasting career spanned leading radio stations across Los Angeles and San Antonio, where he not only hosted popular shows but also significantly contributed to public service.

Beyond radio, Melendrez has excelled as a TV host, actor, motivational speaker, and voice artist, endorsing brands like Disney and Pepsi, and engaging audiences at high-profile events, including the White House Hispanic Heritage Awards. He's passionately contributed to social causes, leading initiatives like The Children of the World Project and actively supporting numerous charities, raising over $100 million for non-profits.

Melendrez's efforts have earned him commendations from President Reagan, a Grammy nomination, and recognition as a socially responsible entrepreneur.

His book, "The Art of Living with Enthusiasm!", encapsulates his philosophy on the transformative power of positivity and enthusiasm in personal and professional realms.