Carl Weathers, 'Rocky' and 'Predator' actor, dies at 76

Weathers starred as boxer Apollo Creed in the "Rocky" films.

February 2, 2024, 3:53 PM

Carl Weathers, the actor who was known for playing boxer Apollo Creed in the "Rocky" films, has died, his manager said. He was 76.

"We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers," his manager Matt Luber said in a statement, adding that the actor died peacefully in his sleep Thursday.

He added, "Carl was an exceptional human being who lived an extraordinary life. Through his contributions to film, television, the arts and sports, he has left an indelible mark and is recognized worldwide and across generations. He was a beloved brother, father, grandfather, partner, and friend."

In addition to the "Rocky" films, Weathers had memorable roles in films including "Predator" and "Happy Gilmore." He also appeared on TV in the crime drama "Street Justice" and on the sitcom "Arrested Development." In 2021, he was nominated for an Emmy for his recurring role in the "Star Wars"-inspired streaming series "The Mandalorian."

Before his career as an actor, Weathers, a New Orleans native, was a football star at San Diego State University and later played in the NFL for the Raiders.

Weathers played in a total of eight regular NFL season games before turning his attention to acting in 1974, according to the Raiders website.

"I just remember being bitten by the [acting] bug when I was in grade school," Weathers said in an interview with WGN Morning News last year. "The first play I did I was in fifth or sixth grade when I was in one of those pageant plays. And then the next time I did a play, the following year, was a scripted play that one of my teachers did. And there is nothing like standing on stage as a kid and suddenly hearing [applause]."

PHOTO: In this Oct. 19. 2019, file photo, Carl Weathers poses at the Disney+ launch event promoting "The Mandalorian," in West Hollywood, Calif
In this Oct. 19. 2019, file photo, Carl Weathers poses at the Disney+ launch event promoting "The Mandalorian," in West Hollywood, Calif
Mark Von Holden/Invision via AP

His first acting roles were small parts in the 1975 films "Friday Foster" and "Bucktown."

The following year, he was cast in the first "Rocky" film as Apollo Creed, a character inspired by real-life boxing champion Muhammad Ali. Creed was the rival of Stallone's Rocky Balboa in the first two "Rocky" films, then became one of the protagonists in "Rocky III" and in "Rocky IV."

"I have no idea why it's so enduring," Weathers said about the legacy of "Rocky" in an interview with Red Carpet News TV in 2016. "About the best explanation for it is, it just happened to be the right movie at the right time with the right people in it."

"Sylvester Stallone wrote some great characters and a great story arc and character arc, and maybe just a lot of people related to it, and still do," he added. "Because no matter which generation for people who's seeing it for the first time after 40 years or who has seen it 40 times in the last 40 years, people still love the movie, so how fortunate it is to be in a movie like that."

After "Rocky," Weathers went on to star in films including "Predator" in 1987 and Adam Sandler's "Happy Gilmore" in 1996.

In "Happy Gilmore," Weathers played Chubbs Peterson, a former professional golf star who encourages Sandler's character, Happy Gilmore, to enter a local golf tournament.

Later in his career, Weathers starred in several television shows including "Chicago Justice," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and more. He also lent his voice to "Toy Story 4," in which he played Combat Carl, and "Star vs. the Forces of Evil."

"I'm a very fortunate guy, I've worked with really great people, really talented people with some iconic names, and so I'm kinda just holding on for the ride," he told WXYZ-TV in an interview last year at Motor City Comic Con.

Weathers is survived by his two sons.

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