‘Tulsa King’ Star Sylvester Stallone Played a Cop on ‘Kojak’ Early in His Career

by Joe Rutland

Watching Sylvester Stallone get ready for the premiere of Tulsa King later this year sends us back to his early career work. Yes, believe it or not, Stallone did appear on TV before the Paramount+ starring role. Where did he do it? It’s where “Who loves ya, baby?” became an iconic phrase. Stallone would play Officer Rick Daly on Kojak.

This classic TV appearance would come in the CBS show’s Season 3 for the episode, My Brother, My Enemy. You can see a number of his scenes put together in this compilation from the official Kojak YouTube account. And yes, Rick will get an earful from Lt. Theo Kojak, played marvelously by Telly Savalas.

Sylvester Stallone of ‘Tulsa King’ Gets Chance To Square Up With Kojak

According to IMDb, the episode first aired on Sept. 21, 1975. The summary indicates that Daly is a “young, trigger-happy cop with good intentions to help people.” Yet while responding to a knife-killing, Daly shoots too quickly. The officer ends up killing a young boy. Now Kojak does his best to shield the cop from the public reaction.

But there is a bloodthirst for revenge. This leads to Kojak doing some thinking and he sees some cracks in the officer’s response to the knife-killing. Cops believe Kojak is “persecuting Daly.” The guy that Daly was pursuing gets found. But Kojak ends up meeting Daly on the roof. This is where Theo gets down to the truth of the matter with Daly. It’s a superb climatic scene. We end up seeing Daly pass Kojak on the stairwell as the show comes to an end. It’s a powerful Kojak episode and lets Stallone show off his acting abilities at that time.

This TV Role Would Happen One Year Before ‘Rocky’ Hits Movie Screens

Here’s something for you to think about, too. This role on Kojak would be one year ahead of Stallone appearing as Rocky Balboa for the first time on a movie screen. Rocky would make him a household name and kick off one of the motion picture industry’s most prolific franchises. Stallone also would, down the road, make John Rambo into a franchise with the Rambo movies.

Some people might scoff at his focus on doing franchises with films. But they all, for the most part, have been quite successful. We now see him playing his first starring role in a TV series as Dwight “The General” Manfredi in Tulsa King. Stallone got some news on Monday as Emmy Award-winning actress Dana Delany is going to join the cast. Tulsa King will have a November premiere date on Paramount+ and Paramount Network. It looks like things are coming together quite well for Sly and his TV show.