Carl Weathers, Star of ‘Rocky’ and ‘Predator,’ dies at 76
Carl Weathers, best known as Apollo Creed in the Rocky franchise, and recently as Greef Karga on it Star wars‘ The Mandalorian has died. He was only 76 years old.
His death was announced by his family in a statement. Read it ((by date):
We are very sad to announce the passing of Carl Weathers. He passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, February 1, 2024. … Carl was an extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary life. With his contributions to film, television, the arts and sport, he has left an indelible mark and is recognized around the world and across generations. He was a loving brother, father, grandfather, companion, and friend.
Weathers was often known for his muscular physique and intense athletic presence on screen – and, of course, before he was an actor he was a professional athlete. Born in 1948, he played with the Oakland Raiders for two seasons in the early 1970s, and then played for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League for several years. While playing football in college and professionally, Weathers also studied drama and theater arts. When he retired from football, he moved into acting.
After a few years working in small roles on TV and film he got his big break in 1976 Rocky, where he was cast as Apollo Creed, the heavyweight boxing champion who offers a long shot title match to Philadelphia club fighter Rocky Balboa. The character was based entirely on Muhammad Ali, and Weathers captured some of Ali’s true swagger and machismo, while also lending the character his own unique emotional dimensions.
Weathers reprized his role as Apollo in Rocky II, IIIand IV, and continued to show more sides to his character – and more range as an actor – as Apollo grew from Rocky’s nemesis to his friend and trainer. He has a very memorable speech in Rocky III. Looking at it now, the scene takes on even more melancholic dimensions.
Weathers parlayed his success as Apollo Creed into a string of blockbuster ’80s action films. He was the second lead in 1987’s Predator, where he played opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dillon, the CIA agent who recruits Schwarzenegger’s unit for a special mission. Schwarzenegger and Weather’s handshake in the film’s opening scene has been immortalized as a meme.
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Weathers also starred in his own ’80s action film, 1988’s Jackson’s action.
As Weathers got older, he moved into different roles. In 1996, he had a memorable turn as the title character’s coach in Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore.
He was also forgettable in a role that appeared time and time again to spoil himself Arrested development as a tough acting coach (but an incredibly resourceful stew maker).
In recent years, Weathers has reinvented himself once again, as a major force both in front of and behind the camera on The Mandalorian. He played Greef Karga, the bounty hunter hired by Mando to deliver Grogu in the first episode of the show. Weather quickly became a fan favorite, and has returned through all three seasons of the show so far. Weather became one of The Mandalorianregular directors as well; he directed one episode in Season 2 and Season 3.
This is a terrible and terrible loss. Weathers continued to be a lively and surprising presence on screen – and with his work as an actor and director The Mandalorian he seemed to be on the verge of a whole new phase of his career which has now sadly been cut short.
The best of Carl Weathers
The late Carl Weathers left a huge mark on the world of film and television.