Carl Weathers, an Emmy-nominated actor whose career spanned five decades and included roles in Rocky, Predator, and Happy Gilmore, has died. He was 76.
Weathers passed away “peacefully in his sleep” on Thursday, Feb. 1, at his home in Los Angeles, his family said.
“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,” family members said in a statement to the media.
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Weathers was born in New Orleans on Jan. 14, 1948.
He played football in college at San Diego State University. The former linebacker helped the school’s team win the 1969 Pasadena Bowl. He was recruited to the NFL and went on to play for one season with the Oakland Raiders in 1970.
Weathers later made the transition to acting with small parts on the TV series, Good Times, The Six Million Dollar Man, and S.W.A.T..
He then landed a breakout role as boxer Apollo Creed in Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky (1976). Weathers appeared in the first four Rock movies, with his character dying in the ring in Rocky IV (1984).
The actor co-starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the action drama Predator (1987). He led the star-studded cast of the comedy Action Jackson (1988), and co-starred with Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore (1996).
He also had parts on the syndicated TV show Street Justice, the CBS drama In the Heat of the Night, and Fox’s Arrested Development. More recently, he co-starred on Disney+ hit The Mandalorian.
In a 2023 interview with the The Detroit News, Weathers spoke of acting legends Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, and athletes Jim Brown and Muhammad Ali as his inspirations.
“There are so many people that came before me who I admired and whose success I wanted to emulate, and just kind of hit the benchmarks they hit in terms of success, who created a pathway that I’ve been able to walk and find success as a result,” he said. “And hopefully I can inspire someone else to do good work as well.”