Carl Weathers, Star Of Rocky, Predator, And The Mandalorian Dead At 76

We come today bearing tragic news as Carl Weathers, the man who gave us memorable characters like Apollo Creed in the "Rocky" franchise, Chubbs Peterson in "Happy Gilmore," the titular "Action Jackson," and Greef Karga in "The Mandalorian" has left us at the age of 76. His family announced that he passed away yesterday, but the news broke today courtesy of Deadline.

"We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers," said his family in a statement obtained by Deadline. "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."

A natural athlete, Weathers got his start as a college football player at San Diego State University where he received a master's degree in theater arts. He later signed with the Oakland Raiders. He eventually signed with the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League before pivoting to acting following his football retirement in 1974.

Before his passing, Weathers had made over 75 appearances across film and television, enjoying a celebrated career spanning five decades.

Carl Weathers had the eye of the tiger

Weathers' acting career started in the mid-1970s, when he appeared in the Blaxploitation films "Bucktown" and "Friday Foster," as well as a season 2 episode of "Good Times." The following year, he appeared on "Starsky and Hutch" and "Barnaby Jones," furthering his familiarity with the masses. But it was, of course, his casting as Apollo Creed in the "Rocky" films that would change his life forever. He would reprise the role in "Rocky II," "Rocky III," and "Rocky IV," where his heartbreaking loss to Captain Ivan Drago would set the stage for the rest of the series, including the follow-up trilogy of "Creed" films starring Michael B. Jordan.

His prowess as Apollo Crews made him a shoo-in for action films like "Force 10 from Navarone," "Action Jackson," "Hurricane Smith," and notably, "Predator." In 1996, he played Chubbs Peterson in Adam Sandler's "Happy Gilmore," a phenomenal showcase of his comedic chops and a role he'd reprise in "Little Nicky." Weathers frequently played funnymen, with an incredible turn on "Arrested Development" as a parody of himself. He leaned into his reputation even further by voicing the Combat Carl action figure in the "Toy Story" franchise.

In addition to acting, Weathers was a celebrated and decorated director of TV. He directed episodes of "The Siege," "The Foundling," and even two episodes of "The Mandalorian," the series that earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.

Carl Weathers was an actor who played countless characters that we'd describe as "iconic," but it also feels like Hollywood never fully appreciated the totality of his abilities. He was charming, captivating, hilarious, and could inspire tears with just a glance at the camera. He was a legend of the screen, and he will be sorely missed.