Famed Actor Carl Weathers Dies at 76, Leaving Behind a Legacy in Film and Sports

 

Key Takeaways:

• Carl Weathers, popular for roles in “Rocky” and “The Mandalorian,” dies at 76.
• Born and raised in New Orleans, Weathers had an impressive football career before transitioning to acting.
• Weathers remembered for portraying Apollo Creed in the “Rocky” series and for his roles in “Predator” and “Happy Gilmore.”
• He also had a budding directing career, taking the reins on episodes of “The Mandalorian” and “Law & Order.”

Acclaimed Hollywood actor Carl Weathers, renowned for his performances in the “Rocky” franchise, “Predator,” “Happy Gilmore,” and Disney’s “The Mandalorian,” passed away at 76 in his Los Angeles home on Thursday.

His Life and Achievements

Carl Weathers, born in 1948 in New Orleans, obtained distinction as a talented athlete before breaking through in acting. His sports career ranged from football and soccer to wrestling, gymnastics, and boxing. As a student at San Diego State University, Weathers made a significant contribution toward an 11-0 football record, leading to a 1969 Pasadena Bowl triumph. Despite his athletic successes, acting beckoned, and Weathers pursued a degree in theater arts.

The actor, despite going undrafted in 1970, was signed by the Oakland Raiders. After playing eight games in the NFL, Weathers shifted his career towards acting. He quickly started gaining recognition through small roles in “Bucktown” and “Friday Foster,” apart from appearances in TV series like “Good Times” and “Starsky and Hutch.”

His Big Break and Notable Roles

In his audition for the role of Apollo Creed in “Rocky,” a misunderstanding cemented his casting. Weathers unknowingly challenged the film’s writer and his future co-star, Sylvester Stallone, to work with a “real actor.” According to Weathers, Stallone gave him the part out of a desire to “beat the hell out of me.” His portrayal of Apollo Creed would become Weathers’ standout role, carried over to three subsequent “Rocky” films.

Weathers further etched his name in cinema history with his performance in the 1987 film “Predator,” co-starring with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also portrayed Chubbs Peterson, a one-handed former golf star, in Adam Sandler’s “Happy Gilmore.”

Admiration from Peers

Adam Sandler expressed his admiration for Weathers in an Instagram post following the news of his death. Sandler praised Weathers as a “great man,” “great dad,” and a “true legend.”

Weathers is survived by his ex-wife, Mary Ann, and their two sons.

A Multifaceted Career in Entertainment

Beyond his most prominent roles, Weathers lent his talents to a recurring role on “Arrested Development,” voiceover work in the “Toy Story” franchise, along with TV appearances in “Street Justice,” “Colony,” “The Shield,” “Chicago Justice,” and “Brothers.”

Weathers was also establishing a directing career in his later years, helming two episodes of “The Mandalorian” and episodes of “Law & Order” and “Chicago Med.”

Through his varied contributions to film, television, the arts, and sports, Carl Weathers left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry and is celebrated worldwide.