Hollywood mourns the loss of Carl Weathers, the versatile actor best known for his iconic role as Apollo Creed in the “Rocky” film series and as Greef Karga in “The Mandalorian.”
Weathers passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at the age of 76.
His passing was confirmed by his family in a statement released Thursday, marking the end of a distinguished career that spanned several decades and included roles in some of cinema and television’s most memorable projects.
Born on January 14, 1948, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Weathers’ journey to stardom began on the football field. He played college football at San Diego State University before turning professional, with stints at the Oakland Raiders and the B.C. Lions in the Canadian Football League. However, it was his transition to acting that cemented his place in entertainment history.
Weathers’ breakthrough came in 1976 when he was cast as Apollo Creed, the charismatic and formidable boxing champion, in “Rocky.” His portrayal of Creed, a role he reprised in three sequels, was both critically acclaimed and beloved by fans. It showcased his ability to embody strength, charm, and complexity, making Apollo Creed a central figure in the “Rocky” saga and a symbol of excellence in sports cinema.
Beyond the “Rocky” series, Weathers’ career was marked by a wide range of roles that demonstrated his versatility as an actor. In 1987, he starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Predator,” further establishing his action star credentials. His filmography also includes memorable appearances in “Action Jackson,” “Happy Gilmore,” and a variety of television roles that spanned from dramas to comedies, including a notable guest appearance on “Arrested Development.”
In recent years, Weathers once again found critical acclaim with a new generation of fans through his role as Greef Karga on the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian.” His performance in the “Star Wars” universe was met with praise and earned him an Emmy nomination, highlighting his enduring appeal and talent.
Weathers’ impact extended beyond the screen. He was a trailblazer who paved the way for African American actors in Hollywood, breaking barriers and inspiring countless individuals with his performances and professionalism. In interviews, Weathers often spoke about the importance of versatility in acting, a principle that guided his career choices and allowed him to explore a wide range of characters and genres.
Carl Weathers is survived by his two sons, Jason and Matthew, to whom he was not just a father but also a mentor and inspiration. His legacy in film and television is unmatched, with a body of work that will continue to entertain and inspire for generations to come.
Adam Sandler, who co-starred with Weathers in “Happy Gilmore,” remembered him as “a great man, actor, athlete, and someone who was always fun to be around.” Tributes from colleagues and fans across the world have poured in, highlighting the widespread admiration and respect for Weathers’s contributions to the entertainment industry.
As the news of his passing spreads, the industry and fans alike reflect on the indelible mark Carl Weathers has left on film and television. His performances, characterized by their intensity, humor, and humanity, have become a part of cinematic history. Weathers’s career serves as a testament to his talent, work ethic, and the impact one individual can have on the cultural landscape.