LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tony Burton, the veteran character actor best known for brief but memorable appearances as the no-nonsense trainer and cornerman in the first six "Rocky" movies, has died. He was 78.

Burton's wife, Aurelian, says the actor died of pneumonia Thursday at a Southern California hospital.

Failing health had prevented him from appearing in "Creed," the seventh "Rocky" movie.

Sylvester Stallone is nominated for an Oscar for that film at Sunday's ceremony.

In the first two "Rocky" movies, Burton is heavyweight champion Apollo Creed's trainer when Creed defends, and eventually loses, his title to Stallone's Rocky Balboa.

In subsequent films, he becomes Rocky's cornerman and confidant.

Burton also appeared in dozens of other films and TV shows, including "The Shining," ''Sanford and Son" and "The Rockford Files."