Carl Weathers, who starred in ‘Rocky’ films, dies at 76

carl weathers passed away

Carl Weathers arrives at a screening for the season three premiere The Mandalorian on February 28, 2023 in Los Angeles. Weathers, a former NFL linebacker who became a Hollywood action movie and comedy star, died Tuesday at the age of 76.

Carl Weathers Passed Away

NEW YORK – Carl Weathers, a former NFL linebacker turned Hollywood action movie and comedy star, played nemesis and ally Apollo Creed in the “Rocky” films, took on Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Predator” and taught golf in ‘Happy’ Gilmore”, has died. He was 76.

Matt Luber, his manager, said Carl Weathers died Thursday. His family released a statement saying he died “peacefully in his sleep.”

Leisurely flexing his muscles on the big screen in “Action Jackson” while cracking jokes on the small screen in shows like “Arrested Development,” Weathers was perhaps most associated with Creed, who first appeared as the cocky, undisputed world heavyweight champion in 1976’s ‘Rocky’, starring Sylvester Stallone.

‘It puts you on the map and makes your career, so to speak. But that’s a one-time thing, so you have to follow up with it. Fortunately, those films kept coming and Apollo Creed became more and more popular. awareness and welcome into their lives, and it was just the right man at the right time,” he told The Daily Beast in 2017.

Most recently, Carl Weathers starred in the Disney+ hit “The Mandalorian”, appearing in all three seasons.

Creed, who appeared in the first four “Rocky” films, memorably died in the ring of 1984’s “Rocky IV,” pitting him against the hulking, steroid-using Soviet Ivan Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren. Before entering the ring, James Brown sang “Living in America” ​​with showgirls and Creed appeared on a balcony in a Star-Spangled Banner shorts and vest combo and an Uncle Sam hat, dancing and taunting Drago.

A bloodied Creed collapses in the ring after a vicious beating, trembles and is cradled by Rocky as he dies, inevitably causing a fight between Drago and Rocky. But while Creed is gone, his character’s son, Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed, would lead his own boxing trilogy starting in 2015.

Carl Weathers continued with 1987’s “Predator,” where he flexed his pecs alongside Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura and a host of others, and the 1988 nouveau blaxploitation film “Action Jackson,” where he trains his flamethrower on a villain and asks: ‘How is that possible? Do you like your ribs?” before cooking it.

He later added a fake wooden hand to play a golf pro for the 1996 comedy classic ‘Happy Gilmore’ opposite Adam Sandler and in 2017 starred in Dick Wolf’s short-lived spin-off series ‘Chicago Justice’ and in Disney’s ‘ The Mandalorian’. he earned a 2021 Emmy Award nomination. He also voiced Combat Carl in the “Toy Story” franchise.

Carl Weathers grew up admiring actors like Woody Strode, whose combination of physique and acting talent in “Spartacus” made an early impression. Others he idolized included actors Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte and athletes Jim Brown and Muhammad Ali, stars who broke the mold and the color barrier.

“There have been so many people before me that I admired and whose success I wanted to emulate, and who just achieved the benchmarks that they achieved in terms of success, who created a path that I’ve been able to walk and find success as a result of that . And hopefully I can inspire someone else to do good work too,” he told Detroit News 2023. “I guess I’m just a lucky person.”

Carl Weathers grew up in New Orleans and began performing in plays in grade school. In high school, athletics took him on a different path, but later in life he would reunite with his first love.

Carl Weathers played college football at San Diego State University – he majored in theater – and then played one season in the NFL, for the Oakland Raiders, in 1970.

“When I discovered football, it was a completely different outlet,” Weathers told the Detroit News. “It was more about the physicality, even though one feeds the other. You needed some smarts because there were scripts to study and film to study, to learn more about the opposition every week.”

After the Raiders, he joined the Canadian Football League, where he played for two years while completing his off-season studies at San Francisco State University. He graduated with a BA in drama in 1974.

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After appearing in several films and TV shows, including ‘Good Times’, ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’, ‘In the Heat of the Night’ and ‘Starsky & Hutch’, and opposing the Nazis alongside Harrison Ford fought in ‘Force 10’ From Navarone,” Weathers was cast in his knockout role: Creed. He told The Hollywood Reporter that his start in the iconic franchise was not promising.

He was asked to read with the writer, Stallone, then unknown. Weathers read the scene but felt it didn’t land and so he blurted out, “I could do a much better job if you had a real actor for me to work with,” he recalled. “So I just insulted the star of the movie without really knowing and without meaning to.” He also lied about having any boxing experience.

Later in life, Weathers developed a passion for directing and directing episodes of “Silk Stalking” and the Lorenzo Lama vehicle “Renegade.” He directed a season three episode of “The Mandalorian.”

Carl Weathers introduced himself to a different generation when he portrayed himself as an opportunistic and extremely frugal actor who becomes involved with the dysfunctional clan at the heart of “Arrested Development.”

The Carl Weathers character likes to save money by making stock from discarded food – “There’s still plenty of meat on that bone” and “Honey, you’ve got a stew going!” – and agrees to become an acting coach for delusional and talentless stage actor Tobias Funke, played by David Cross, for the right price.

Carl Weathers is two sons.

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