Carl Weathers, the former NFL player who made his mark in Hollywood as the boxer Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky films and with roles in such projects as Predator, Happy Gilmore and The Mandalorian, has died at age 76.
Weathers passed away peacefully in his sleep at his Los Angeles home, according to his manager Matt Luber. “Carl was an extraordinary human being who lived a remarkable life,” Luber said in a statement. “Through his acting, directing and sporting achievements, he made a lasting impact and is fondly remembered by many across generations. He was a cherished brother, father, grandfather, partner and friend.”
In addition to his iconic role in the Rocky franchise, Weathers portrayed a number of memorable characters on both film and television. He played Detective Beaudreaux on the early 1990s police drama Street Justice, Chief Hampton Forbes on the final seasons of In the Heat of the Night, and a fictionalized version of himself on multiple episodes of Arrested Development. More recently, he had a recurring role as attorney Mark Jefferies across the Chicago series franchise on NBC.
Weathers was also directing episodes of shows like The Mandalorian, on which he also starred as ally Greef Karga. His performance as the bounty hunter-turned-government official earned him an Emmy nomination in 2021 and introduced him to a new generation of fans. He delighted Star Wars aficionados by appearing at conventions to sign autographs and pose for photos.
Born in New Orleans and an accomplished athlete from a young age, Weathers played professional football for teams like the Oakland Raiders before pivoting to acting. He graduated from San Francisco State University in 1974 with a degree in drama, setting the stage for his prolific career in Hollywood.
His most recent role has been in The Mandalorian, as the main character’s ally Greef Karga, a character into which he poured much of his own personality. This intimacy with the character made it one of the most memorable for Star Wars fans, and added a realism and vibrance that helped make the series more than the sum of its parts.
Weathers is survived by his two sons, Matthew and Jason. Though no longer with us, the beloved actor and director’s memorable contributions across sports, television and film ensure his lasting legacy.
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