Carl Weathers, Apollo Creed in ‘Rocky’ Films, Dead at 76

The actor also appeared in “The Mandalorian,” “Predator,” and 1988’s “Action Jackson.”

Legendary actor Carl Weathers, known for his iconic roles in the , Predator, The Mandalorian and Action Jackson, has died. He was 76.

In an official statement from his family, Deadline reports that he died on Thursday (February 1).

“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers,” the family’s statement read. “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.”

Born on January 14, 1948, in New Orleans, Weathers was athletic from the start and played numerous sports, including football, boxing, soccer, gymnastics, and wrestling. He played football in college at San Diego State University, helping to lead the Aztecs to a victory in the Pasadena Bowl in 1969. While in college, Weathers fell in love with acting and decided to pursue a degree in theater arts until he signed as a free agent with the Oakland Raiders in 1970. In just over two seasons, Weathers played in eight games as a linebacker in the NFL.

Following the end of his football career, Weathers landed small film roles in the blaxploitation movies “Bucktown” and “Friday Foster” with Pam Grier. He made several appearances on popular TV series at the time, including "Good Times,” “Kung Fu,” "Cannon,” and “Starsky and Hutch.”

American actor and former professional football player Carl Weathers in sparring pose, United States, June 1979. (P

His big break came in 1976, when he was tapped to play Apollo Creed, the braggadocious heavyweight champion of the world, in the classic film Rocky,Awards, starring Sylvester Stallone. The film went on to win several Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Weathers would go on to reprise his role in Rocky II, Rocky III, and Rocky IV.

Carl Weathers Joins The Star Wars Universe in 'The Mandalorian'

Many actors would have found themselves pigeon holeed by such a memorable character, but Weathers went on to develop a remarkable career in Hollywood. He appeared in Predator, Action Jackson, and the cult-classic Happy Gilmore. He earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his work in the ” where directed Episodes 12 and 20 of the series.

In an interview with British GQ, Weathers spoke about the difference between a "movie star" and an "actor."

“This label of movie star doesn't really have anything to do with being a really fine actor or artist,” Weathers said. “Enough promotion of any person, enough movies where that person gets to be shown in a particular light, can make them a movie star.”

Life in Film: Carl Weathers

Carl Weathers put down the football and started acting. We're grateful he did.

Photo: United Artists/Courtesy of Getty Images

A Celebration of Hollywood

Photo: Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for Santa Barbara International Film Festival

A Celebration Of Hollywood

Photo: Universal/Getty Images

A Celebration Of Hollywood
Remember Mr. Creed? - Mr. Weathers is best known for starring as Apollo Creed in the Rocky series of films.(Photo: United Artists/Courtesy of Getty Images) 
Take Notes From Carl Weathers - Lets just say Carl Weathers made the right decision when he chose his acting career over professional football with the Oakland Raiders. (Photo: Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for Santa Barbara International Film Festival) 
Carl Joins Happy Gilmore - Remember seeing Carl Weathers in one of our favorite '90s comedies Happy Gilmore? (Photo: Universal/Getty Images) 
Carl Weathers and Michael Strahan...Together? - It was all a surprise when we happened to be flipping through channels and came across the Fox show Brothers, in which Weathers starred alongside Michael Strahan back in 2009.(Photo: 

"That doesn't mean their chops are there as an actor to play a character that is perhaps unlike them, with complicated ideas behind the dialogue, behind the discourse, where a writer has really investigated something and you as the actor have to pull out this performance that not only illustrates what that writer wanted to say and create, but exemplifies what kind of talent you really have,” he continued.

We extend our prayers and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Carl Weathers.

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