Tommy Morrison, known best as Tommy “Machine” Gunn from Rocky V, died on September 3rd from unspecified causes, at age 44. His moniker “The Duke” was given due to him being the grandnephew of John Wayne.
Unfortunately, he’s best known for what people consider to be a terrible film, Rocky V. Which, I personally believe is a load of BS. Rocky V isn’t a masterpiece by any means, but it contains a lot of fun elements. The Duke is a great villain, as with all Rocky films, the bad guy always ends up in the ring with Rock, but this time you know that just won’t be the case.
Tommy is charismatic, and interesting to watch as the young, hungry fighter who’s desperate for respect and doesn’t want to wait to get it. Plus we get a hell of a scene between Rock & Mickey, which measures up against any other scene with those two in the previous films. Then at the end of it all we get the best fight out of the entire franchise; Rocky & Tommy going all out in the street. It’s a hell of a go, and certainly not one you’re expecting as the movie is going along.
Just like the movie, Tommy Morrison was a real life Heavyweight Champion, as he beat George Foreman for the WBO Heavyweight Championship on July 7th, 1993, after a unanimous decision in his favor. He was clearly a boxer with skill, as his professional career stands at 49 wins, 44 of which are by knockout, and only 3 loses. That’s absolutely incredible for a professional fighter.
Tommy Morrison was no longer allowed to fight in the late 90’s when he tested positive for HIV, although he always contested the test was false, and it was all some sort of conspiracy. He was granted a license to fight again in 2007, so perhaps he was right. I guess we won’t know for sure until the cause of death is finally revealed.
His life story would actually make for one hell of a film, and I say, go for it.
Rest in peace, Tommy Morrison.