Carl Weathers, an actor known for playing Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky films and who appeared in Predator, The Mandalorian, Happy Gilmore, has died at the age of 76.
“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers,” his family said in a statement. “He died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, February 1st, 2024. … 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.”
Weathers’ lengthy acting career spanned over 50 years in movies and television.
He took on the iconic role of Apollo Creed in the first Rocky movie in 1976, and later starring in Rocky II (1979) as well as Rocky III (1982), before his character was killed in the ring in Rocky IV.
The Happy Gilmore actor recalled that he had accidentally insulted actor Sylvester Stallone during his first audition for “Rocky.”
“There was nobody to read with, and they said you’re going to read with the writer [Stallone],” Weathers said.
“And we read through the scene and at the end of it, I didn’t feel like it had really sailed, that the scene had sailed, and they were quiet and there was this moment of awkwardness, I felt anyway, so I just blurted out ‘I could do a lot better if you got me a real actor to work with. So I just insulted the star of the movie without really knowing it and not intending to.”
His television included, The Shield, Street Justice, Colony, Chicago P.D., and Brothers.
Weathers told BritishGQ that he thought “charisma” was an important part of being an actor.
“And, for me, the roles that I’ve done, including Greef Karga in ‘The Mandalorian,’ there is a kind of swagger about him and I don’t know that you can manufacture that. That comes naturally, but there’s also some thought in it. There’s something about how you see the world and how you walk through the world that translates on screen, that comes across and people get and they see and they want to emulate.”
Additionally, before his acting career took off, Weathers played college football at San Diego State University, and in 1970, he signed with the Oakland Raiders. He played in eight games in the National Football League (NFL) across two seasons.
Weathers was married three times to Mary Ann Castle from 1973-1983, to Rhonda Unsell from 1984-2006, and most recently to Jennifer Peterson from 2007-2009.
He is survived by his two sons and his grandchildren.