PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An historic cemetery is coming alive again, thanks to Philly’s beloved Rocky Balboa. The love of his life is buried there and while her character may be fictional, Adrian Balboa’s legacy lives on.
There are 75,000 people buried here, but when visitors come to Laurel Hill Cemetery along Kelly Drive, they ask one question: “Where is Adrian Balboa buried?”
Made famous for this scene in “Rocky Balboa” back in 2006, again, in “Creed” and now, with the release of “Creed 2,” this headstone is bringing new life to Laurel Hill.
“We love the fact that they come in the gates and get a taste for what the place is like,” said Nick McAllister, the executive director of Friends for Laurel Hill.
He says, since the films, the number of visitors to the cemetery has increased, significantly.
“Do people realize she was not a real person?” asks CBS3’s Jessica Kartalija.
“Some people do, but for some people, her memory lives on as though she is a real person,” said McAllister.
Bill Doran, the cemetery’s superintendent, says initially, the headstone the crew designed for Adrian wasn’t good enough.
“Ninety-nine percent of the headstones are styrofoam and painted to look like real headstones. Sylvester Stallone insisted on having a real headstone,” said Doran.
What Stallone didn’t realize, a real headstone weighs 800 pounds. So, they enlisted Doran and the team at Laurel to help.
When filming wrapped, the crew gifted the headstones to Doran and Laurel Hill. Now, people come from around the world to pay their respects.
“Would you have ever imagined that this would be such a hit?” asks Kartalija.
“No, I don’t think anyone thought it would be such a hit but the franchise is incredibly succeeded, and we are happy to be on the receiving end of the attention,” Doran said.
Doran and the real Rocky have formed a friendship. Doran even suggested that when Stallone’s time comes, that he be buried here in Philadelphia.
“He loves the cemetery, so I have been planting the seed for years, that he should come to Laurel Hill and give back to the city that made you famous. But the last time he was here, he said it was too cold for that, he’s going to stay in California,” Doran laughs.
“Every movie that comes to Philadelphia that wants a cemetery scene, usually always contacts Laurel Hill first,” Doran adds.