Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa
Carl Weathers, a retired professional football player in the NFL, transitioned to a successful career in Hollywood as an actor known for his roles in action films and comedies. He is most recognized for portraying Apollo Creed, initially Rocky Balboa’s rival but later becoming his ally, in the “Rocky” film franchise alongside Sylvester Stallone.
The actor who appeared in “Predator” and taught golf in “Happy Gilmore,” has passed away at the age of 76.
Matt Luber, manager for Weathers, confirmed to CBS News that Weathers passed away at his residence in Los Angeles on Thursday. His family released a statement to the Associated Press stating that he died “calmly in his slumber.”
According to entertainment news source Deadline, Carl’s family stated that he was an exceptional individual who led an extraordinary life. He made significant contributions in the fields of film, television, arts, and sports, leaving a lasting impact that is recognized globally and across different generations. He was dearly loved as a brother, father, grandfather, partner, and friend.
Sylvester Stallone shared a heartfelt message on social media, expressing his sorrow while standing in front of a painting featuring a memorable moment from the “Rocky” movies.
Adam Sandler, who acted alongside Weathers in the 1996 comedy “Happy Gilmore,” shared a tribute on social media to honor his late co-star.
“Sandler described him as a remarkable individual – not only as a father, actor, and athlete, but also for his enjoyable company. He was incredibly intelligent and fiercely loyal, with a great sense of humor. Above all, he cherished his sons above all else. What a man!”
Creed, who appeared in the first four “Rocky” movies, memorably died in the ring of 1984’s “Rocky IV,” going toe-to-toe with the hulking, steroid-using Soviet Ivan Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren. Before he entered the ring, James Brown sang “Living in America” with showgirls and Creed popped up on a balcony in a Star-Spangled Banner shorts and waistcoat combo and an Uncle Sam hat, dancing and taunting Drago.
Adonis Johnson, rises to prominence.
After enduring a brutal attack, a battered Creed falls in the boxing ring and convulses. Rocky holds him as he passes away, foreshadowing a showdown between Drago and Rocky. Despite Creed’s absence, his son, Adonis Johnson, gains recognition and success.
Adonis Creed, portrayed by Michael B. Jordan, would star in his own trilogy of boxing films beginning in 2015.
According to Weathers in an interview with The Daily Beast in 2017, being part of a successful movie can elevate your career and put you in the public eye. However, it’s important to continue this success with future projects. Luckily, Weathers experienced a continuous stream of successful movies, making his character Apollo Creed more and more popular and well-received by the public. He believes that his timing was just right and he was the perfect fit for the role at that moment in time.
In the latest events, Weathers has been the main actor in the popular Disney+ series “The Mandalorian,” making appearances in every season.
In 1987, Weathers had a role in the film “Predator,” where he showed off his chest muscles with Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, and a group of others. He also appeared in the 1988 film “Action Jackson,” a modern blaxploitation movie, where he aimed his flamethrower at a villain and asked, “How do you prefer your ribs?” before roasting him.
He went on to appear in a short-lived spin-off series called “Chicago Justice” created by Dick Wolf in 2017. In 2021, he received an Emmy Award nomination for his role in “The Mandalorian.” Additionally, he lent his voice to Combat Carl in the “Toy Story” movies.
During a conversation with the Detroit News in May, Weathers expressed gratitude for his fortunate circumstances.
I have looked up to and aspired to achieve the same level of success as many people who came before me. Their achievements have paved the way for my own success, and I hope to inspire others to do great work too,” he stated. “I suppose I am fortunate.”
When Weathers was younger, he looked up to actors like Woody Strode, who had both a strong physical presence and impressive acting skills in the movie “Spartacus.” He also admired actors Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, as well as athletes Jim Brown and Muhammad Ali. These individuals were trailblazers who challenged societal norms and racial barriers.
During his childhood in New Orleans, Weathers began participating in theatrical productions. However, during high school, he shifted his focus to athletics before returning to his passion for acting later in life.
Weathers played college football at San Diego State University — he majored in theater — and went on to play for one season in the NFL, for the Oakland Raiders, in 1970.
“When I discovered football, it provided a completely different form of release,” Weathers stated in an interview with the Detroit News. “It focused more on physical strength, although one aspect complemented the other. It required intelligence as well, as there were playbooks and film to analyze in order to understand the opposing team for each game.”
Following his time with the Raiders, he became a member of the Canadian Football League and played for two seasons. He also utilized his offseason time to complete his studies at San Francisco State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in drama in 1974.
After featuring in multiple movies and television series such as “Good Times,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “In the Heat of the Night” and “Starsky & Hutch,” and even battling against Nazis alongside Harrison Ford in “Force 10 From Navarone,” Weathers ultimately secured his memorable role as Creed. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he revealed that his beginning in the famous franchise was not promising.
He was requested to read alongside Stallone, who was not yet famous at the time. Weathers read the scene, but he didn’t feel it was effective and ended up saying, “I could do much better if I had a real actor to work with,” as he remembered. “So I unintentionally insulted the movie’s star without realizing it.” He also falsely claimed to have boxing experience.
As he grew older, Weathers became interested in directing and took on projects such as “Silk Stalkings” and the Lorenzo Lamas show “Renegade.” He also directed an episode in season three of “The Mandalorian.”
Weathers introduced himself to another generation when he portrayed himself as an opportunistic and extremely thrifty actor who becomes involved with the dysfunctional clan at the heart of “Arrested Development.”
The character named Weathers enjoys saving money by creating broth using leftovers, often saying phrases like “There’s still plenty of meat on that bone” and “Baby, you got a stew going!” As an added bonus, he also agrees to become an acting coach for the delusional and untalented Tobias Funke, portrayed by David Cross, for a fee.
Two sons survive Weathers.