Carl Weathers, renowned for his portrayal of Apollo Creed in the iconic ‘Rocky’ franchise alongside Sylvester Stallone, has passed away at the age of 76, confirmed by his manager, Matt Luber, according to Variety. Weathers, a versatile actor, made his mark not only in the ‘Rocky’ films but also in movies like ‘Predator‘ and ‘Happy Gilmore.’ He received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for his work in ‘The Mandalorian,’ the popular ‘Star Wars‘ series.
In addition to his filmography, Weathers voiced Combat Carl in ‘Toy Story 4‘ and played a fictionalized version of himself in the hit TV show ‘Arrested Development.’ His notable TV series credits include ‘Street Justice,’ ‘Colony,’ ‘The Shield,’ ‘Chicago Justice,’ and ‘Brothers.’ Moreover, Weathers appeared in movies like ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind,’ ‘Death Hunt,’ and ‘The Comebacks.’
Carl Weathers was born in New Orleans on January 14, 1948. He excelled in multiple sports, including boxing, football, soccer, wrestling, and gymnastics. While pursuing a degree in theatre arts at San Diego State University, he played football and aided SDSU in winning the 1969 Pasadena Bowl. He later signed with the Oakland Raiders as a free agent, playing as a linebacker for two seasons in the NFL.
After leaving professional football, Weathers embarked on an acting career, landing roles in notable blaxploitation films by Arthur Marks such as ‘Bucktown’ and ‘Friday Foster.’ He also appeared in TV series including ‘Good Times,’ ‘Kung Fu,’ ‘Cannon,’ and ‘Starsky and Hutch.’
Weathers’ breakout role came as Colonel Al Dillon in the action film ‘Predator,’ starring alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura. His performance in the film gained much acclaim and remained a notable part of his career. Weathers even made a hilarious appearance on the popular sketch comedy show ‘Saturday Night Live,’ humorously referencing his ‘Predator’ role while announcing his fictional political campaign.
There was a brief rift between Weathers and Stallone when the latter sought permission to use footage from previous ‘Rocky’ films in ‘Rocky Balboa,’ the sixth installment of the franchise. Weathers declined and instead advocated for an actual role in the film, despite Apollo Creed‘s demise in ‘Rocky IV.’ Stallone opted to hire a lookalike actor for flashbacks. However, the two reconciled, and Weathers eventually permitted Stallone to use his likeness in the ‘Creed’ sequel series, where Michael B. Jordan portrayed Apollo Creed’s son.
In the later years of his career, Weathers took on smaller roles in TV procedurals and even directed episodes. His first Emmy nomination came in 2021 for his portrayal of Greef Karga in the popular Disney+ series ‘The Mandalorian.’ Additionally, he directed two episodes of the acclaimed ‘Star Wars’ spinoff.
Carl Weathers is survived by his ex-wife, Mary Ann, and their two sons.
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