Rocky, Predator star Carl Weathers dies

Carl Weathers who starred in two Rocky Movies has died.
Carl Weathers who starred in two Rocky Movies has died. Photo credit: Metro_Goldwyn Mayer

Carl Weathers, who came to fame as Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies and proceeded to appear in dozens of movies and TV shows from Predator to The Mandalorian, has died, according to his manager Matt Luber. Weathers was 76.

The actor "died peacefully at home" on Thursday, Luber told CNN. No cause of death was available.

"Carl was an exceptional human being who lived an extraordinary life," his family said in a statement provided to CNN.

"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 actually a former football player who had never boxed when he auditioned for the role in Rocky, proceeding to appear as Apollo Creed in the Oscar-winning film and the next three sequels.

In a 2015 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Weathers recalled auditioning with Stallone, who he was told was the film’s writer, not knowing that Stallone was also the star. Afterwards, feeling the reading hadn’t gone well, he recalled, "I just blurted out, 'I could do a lot better if you got me a real actor to work with'."

The character was obviously inspired by Muhammad Ali, who Weathers later met.
Weathers parlayed his Rocky exposure into a number of other roles that capitalized on his imposing physicality, including the 1987 sci-fi action movie Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The next year, he starred as a Detroit cop in the poorly received Action Jackson.

Subsequent roles included the Adam Sandler comedy Happy Gilmore and In the Heat of the Night TV movies, the series Arrested Development and providing the voice of Combat Carl in the Toy Story franchise.

Most recently, Weathers played a key supporting role in the Star Wars series The Mandalorian earning an Emmy nomination as guest actor in a drama – on Disney+, and directed one of the episodes.

Weathers had also directed episodes of several TV series, including Chicago Med, Law & Order and Hawaii Five-O.

Born in New Orleans, Weathers played college football at San Diego State and briefly played professionally with the Oakland Raiders and in the Canadian Football League.

He gave up football in the mid-1970s and began to pursue acting, earning roles in two blaxploitation movies before his breakthrough with Rocky.

Weathers was married three times, and is survived by two sons.