Carl Weathers, iconic Rocky and sci-fi actor, has passed away at the age of 76. Weathers’ family announced that he died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, February 1st. In their statement, the family said, “Carl was an exceptional human being who lived an extraordinary life,” and, “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.”
Before The Big Screen
Born in New Orleans in 1948, Weathers had a career in football before making a full pivot to acting. After playing college ball, Weathers signed on as a free agent with the Oakland Raiders for a season and eventually played for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League for a couple of seasons. During his time playing for the BC Lions, Carl Weathers earned a bachelor’s degree in drama and did some work as an extra.
Early Acting Work
After retiring from football in 1974 to pursue acting full-time, Weathers appeared in the films Bucktown and Friday Foster. He also appeared in guest roles for shows like Good Times, Kung Fu, and Starsky and Hutch. Carl Weathers has appeared in more than 75 films and shows over the course of his 50-year career.
In 1976, Carl Weathers would appear in his breakthrough role as Apollo Creed in Rocky. Weathers gave an iconic performance as the showy boxer rival of Stallone’s underdog, Rocky Balboa. Weathers would go on to reprise the role in Rocky II, Rocky III, and Rocky IV. Rocky and Creed’s relationship would evolve and define the Rocky franchise, and the series continues today with Apollo’s son, portrayed by Michael B. Jordan in the Creed franchise.
Predator And More
Carl Weathers would begin to carve out his iconic sci-fi career in 1987, shortly after his final appearance as Apollo Creed in 1985’s Rocky IV. Weathers starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the classic Predator, which followed a team of commandos facing off against an alien warrior in Central America. The film was a massive success and became a massive franchise.
Most recently, Carl Weathers entered the Star Wars universe as Greef Carga in the Disney+ series The Mandalorian. Over three seasons, Karga acted as a contact and eventual friend to Pedro Pascal’s Mando. Karga appeared in Season 3 as the leader of a new city called Nevarro, which the Mandalorians helped him liberate from a pirate threat.
Carl Weathers was nominated for an Emmy for his performance in The Mandalorian and directed episodes in both Season 2 and Season 3. A film titled The Mandalorian & Grogu was recently announced, as well as a Dave Filoni-directed film based on the New Republic that connects The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Ahsoka. With the full cast unannounced, it’s unclear if Weathers’ Carga would have been a part of these films.
An Unforgettable Career
Carl Weathers undoubtedly has left behind countless iconic performances. His mark on Hollywood film and TV is unmistakable and he will be missed. If you want to revisit Weathers in his breakthrough performance, you can stream Rocky on Max.