Carl Weathers, the legendary Black actor who portrayed Apollo Creed in the Rocky films and starred in dozens of other movies and TV shows like Predator, The Mandalorian, and Toy Story 4, died on Thursday, February 1 at the age of 76. According to Deadline, his family released a statement confirming Weather’s passing. It reads:
“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers. He died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, February 1st, 2024…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.”
Weathers played defensive end on his college’s football team, where he got a Master’s degree in theatre arts. He signed with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders as a free agent in 1970, and retired from professional football four years later, turning to acting instead (he had some background roles in productions during his time as a pro player). His breakout role was as boxer Apollo Creed in 1976’s Rocky—a role he reprised for the next three films in the franchise.
From there, his acting roles swiftly multiplied—he played Colonel Al Dillon in Predator, starring alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger (during which the two inadvertently created a meme); he played the eponymous character in Action Jackson; was the same character in two different Adam Sandler movies; voiced Combat Carl in Toy Story 4; and most recently starred as bounty hunter Greef Karga in the TV series Star Wars: The Mandalorian. He voiced a character in 2021’s indie game The Artful Escape.
Weathers leaves behind two sons, and a legacy spanning sports and screen that will never be forgotten. Social media is already sharing tributes to the iconic man, but this one is my favorite.