Remembering Carl Weathers, Hollywood’s Iconic Champion.

The entertainment industry mourns the death of Carl Weathers, a forceful actor best known for his famous portrayal as Apollo Creed in the first four “Rocky” films, starring Sylvester Stallone. His manager, Matt Luber, confirmed his passing to Variety. Weathers died at the age of 76, leaving a legacy that spanned decades and genres, including film, television, and voice acting.

Carl Weathers’ career was both wide and impactful. In addition to his famous part in “Rocky,” he shone brightly as a star in the 1987 action thriller “Predator,” co-starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura. His performance in Adam Sandler’s comedy “Happy Gilmore” remains a fan favorite, demonstrating his ability to seamlessly transition between drama and comedy. He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role in the “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian.”

His voice brought Combat Carl to life in “Toy Story 4,” and he charmed audiences by portraying a fictionalized version of himself in the comedy series “Arrested Development.” Weathers’ lengthy acting resume includes prominent roles in TV programs such as “Street Justice,” “Colony,” “The Shield,” “Chicago Justice,” and “Brothers,” as well as films like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Death Hunt,” and “The Comebacks.”

Lorimar Film Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection

Following their work on “Happy Gilmore,” Weathers and Sandler maintained their professional relationship, with Weathers appearing in “Little Nicky” and contributing his voice to Sandler’s animated film “Eight Crazy Nights.”

Carl Weathers was born January 14, 1948, in New Orleans. Before his acting career took off, he was an exceptional athlete who competed in boxing, soccer, wrestling, football, and gymnastics. His physical abilities led him to San Diego State University, where he studied theater arts and played football, helping the Aztecs win the Pasadena Bowl in 1969. Despite an early professional football career with the Oakland Raiders, Weathers’ passion for acting eventually won out, and he transitioned from athletics to the entertainment sector.

Carl Weathers on Feb. 28, 2023. PHOTO: JESSE GRANT/GETTY

Weathers made his acting debut in Arthur Marks’ Blaxploitation flicks “Bucktown” and “Friday Foster,” and has been on popular TV shows such as “Good Times,” “Kung Fu,” “Cannon,” and “Starsky and Hutch.” His performance in “Predator” not only solidified his place in Hollywood, but also linked his reputation to future political figures Schwarzenegger and Ventura. In a famous “Saturday Night Live” hosting performance in 1988, Weathers hilariously referenced his “Predator” part in a political satire.

A major incident in Weathers’ career was a conflict with Sylvester Stallone about the usage of material from the “Rocky” series in the sixth film, “Rocky Balboa.” Weathers initially refused Stallone’s desire to use Apollo Creed archival material, preferring to play a more active part. Although Stallone chose to employ a doppelganger for flashback sequences, the 2 actors subsequently reconciled, with Weathers later agreeing to have his likeness used in the “Creed” sequel series, in which Michael B. Jordan plays Apollo Creed’s son.

Carl Weathers on June 11, 2023. PHOTO: ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ/GETTY
Weathers later welcomed parts in TV procedurals and even directed episodes, demonstrating his diverse abilities. His role as Greef Karga in “The Mandalorian” spans nine episodes over three seasons, earning him an Emmy nomination and allowing him to direct episodes of the renowned series.

Carl Weathers’ legacy lives on through his ex-wife, Mary Ann, and his two boys. His death signals the end of an era for fans and colleagues who appreciated his work and were inspired by his dedication to his art, ability to cross genres, and influence on the cinema and television industries.