Carl Weathers, the actor known for his roles in the Rocky films, as well as Predator, Happy Gilmore and The Mandalorian, has died at the age of 76.
The news was confirmed by his family in a statement. “We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers,” they said. “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 was perhaps best known for his role as Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky films, released between 1976 and 1985. In the original, Creed was the heavyweight champion of the world who gave the underdog Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) a shot at the title. Creed and Balboa later became friends, before Creed was killed in the ring by the Russian fighter Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) in the fourth film.
He also starred as Colonel Al Dillon opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1987 action film Predator. More recently, he played the role of bounty hunter Greef Karga in all three seasons of the Star Wars spinoff show The Mandalorian, for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.
Weathers played golf coach Derick “Chubbs” Peterson to Adam Sandler’s title character in 1996’s Happy Gilmore. In tribute, Sandler wrote on social media: “A true great man. Great dad. Great actor. Great athlete. So much fun to be around always. Smart as hell. Loyal as hell. Funny as hell. Loved his sons more than anything. What a guy!! Everyone loved him. My wife and I had the best times with him every time we saw him. Love to his entire family and Carl will always be known as a true legend.”
A true great man. Great dad. Great actor. Great athlete. So much fun to be around always. Smart as hell. Loyal as hell. Funny as hell. Loved his sons more than anything. What a guy!! Everyone loved him. My wife and I had the best times with him every time we saw him. Love to… pic.twitter.com/Gi2lPWFTgt
— Adam Sandler (@AdamSandler) February 2, 2024
Weathers was born in New Orleans in January 14, 1948. He excelled in sports, eventually playing college football at San Diego State University and then the Oakland Raiders in the NFL. He started working as an extra during those years, appearing in several blaxploitation films and an episode of Starsky and Hutch, before landing the role in Rocky.
His other acting roles included the title character in 1988 action film Action Jackson and the G.I. Joe-like character Combat Carl in Toy Story 4. He also played a parody version of himself in four episodes of Arrested Development as David Cross’ character’s acting coach.
Weathers was married three times, and is survived by his sons Jason and Matthew.