Carl Weathers dies aged 76: Rocky and Predator actor passes peacefully in his sleep as Apollo Creed star’s family pay tribute to ‘exceptional human being who lived an extraordinary life’

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Creed gave ‘Italian Stallion’ underdog Rocky ( Sylvester Stallone) his shot at the title in the iconic film – and Weathers reprised his role in three sequels
  • His character also formed the crux of the storyline for Rocky spin-off film series, Creed – which stars Michael B.Jordan as Apollo’s secret son Adonis Creed
  • Weathers was married and divorced three times, to Mary Ann Castle from 1973-1983, Rhona Unsell from 1984-2006 and Jennifer Peterson from 2007-2009 
  • He is survived by sons Jason and Matthew, who he shared with ex-wife Castle, and his grandchildren 

Iconic Rocky and Predator actor Carl Weathers has died aged 76. 

The screen star, who was most famous for playing Rocky Balboa’s adversary-turned boxing mentor Apollo Creed in four Rocky films, passed ‘peacefully in his sleep’ on Thursday, February 1, his family announced in a statement.

They said: ‘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.’

Former professional football player Weathers shot to worldwide fame playing heavyweight champion of the world Apollo Creed in 1976’s Rocky. 

Iconic Rocky and Predator actor Carl Weathers has died aged 76 (pictured 2016)

The screen star, who was most famous for playing Rocky Balboa's adversary-turned boxing mentor Apollo Creed in four Rocky films, passed 'peacefully in his sleep' on Thursday February 1, his family announced in a statement (pictured with Sylvester Stallone)

The screen star, who was most famous for playing Rocky Balboa’s adversary-turned boxing mentor Apollo Creed in four Rocky films, passed ‘peacefully in his sleep’ on Thursday February 1, his family announced in a statement (pictured with Sylvester Stallone)

Former professional football player Weathers shot to worldwide fame playing heavyweight champion of the world Creed in 1976's Rocky (pictured in 1985's Rocky IV)

Former professional football player Weathers shot to worldwide fame playing heavyweight champion of the world Creed in 1976’s Rocky (pictured in 1985’s Rocky IV)

Creed gave ‘Italian Stallion’ underdog Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) his shot at the title in the iconic film – and Weathers reprised his role in 1979’s Rocky II in which Creed had a title rematch with Rocky, 1982’s Rocky III in which he faced off with Clubber Lang (Mr.T) and 1984’s Rocky IV – which saw his character killed in the ring by Russian heavyweight Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren).

His character also formed the crux of the storyline for acclaimed Rocky spin-off film series, Creed – which stars Michael B.Jordan as Apollo’s secret son and boxer Adonis Creed. 

Weathers previously revealed he had insulted Stallone’s acting abilities during his Rocky audition – which landed him the role.

He said: ‘There was nobody to read with, and they said you’re going to read with the writer [Stallone].

And we read through the scene and at the end of it, I didn’t feel like it had really sailed, that the scene had sailed, and they were quiet and there was this moment of awkwardness, I felt, anyway. 

‘So I just blurted out, ‘I could do a lot better if you got me a real actor to work with.’ So I just insulted the star of the movie without really knowing it and not intending to.’

Stallone felt the jibe was something Creed would say, with Weathers adding: ‘Sometimes the mistakes are the ones that get you the gig.’

Weathers previously revealed he had insulted Stallone’s acting abilities during his Rocky audition – which landed him the role (pictured filming Rocky II in 1979)

Creed gave 'Italian Stallion' underdog Rocky ( Sylvester Stallone ) his shot at the title in the iconic film - and Weathers reprised his role in 1979's Rocky II, 1982's Rocky III and 1984's Rocky IV - which saw his character killed in the ring (pictured) by Ivan Drago ( Dolph Lundgren )

Creed gave ‘Italian Stallion’ underdog Rocky ( Sylvester Stallone ) his shot at the title in the iconic film – and Weathers reprised his role in 1979’s Rocky II, 1982’s Rocky III and 1984’s Rocky IV – which saw his character killed in the ring (pictured) by Ivan Drago ( Dolph Lundgren )

Weathers is pictured with Lundgren in Rocky IV

Weathers is pictured with Lundgren in Rocky IV 

Weathers is seen as Colonel Al Dillon in 1987's Predator alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger

Weathers is seen as Colonel Al Dillon in 1987’s Predator alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger

Weathers is pictured with Stallone and Michael B.Jordan at the premiere of Rocky spinoff Creed in 2015 - Jordan played Adonis Creed, the secret son of Apollo

Weathers is pictured with Stallone and Michael B.Jordan at the premiere of Rocky spinoff Creed in 2015 – Jordan played Adonis Creed, the secret son of Apollo

He is survived by sons Jason and Matthew who he shared with ex-wife Mary Ann Castle and his grandchildren. 

Weathers was married and divorced three times, to Mary Ann from 1973-1983, Rhona Unsell from 1984-2006 and Jennifer Peterson from 2007-2009. 

The star was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 14, 1948. During his time in school he exhibited an aptitude for sports and later played football as a defensive end in college. 

He started his college career in 1966 at Long Beach City College and after sustaining an ankle injury he then transferred and played for San Diego State University.

At San Diego State, Weathers received a master in theatre arts.

Weathers co-starred in the 1996 Adam Sandler comedy Happy Gilmore as Chubbs Peterson

Weathers co-starred in the 1996 Adam Sandler comedy Happy Gilmore as Chubbs Peterson

Sandler paid tribute to his former co-star in an emotional post

Sandler paid tribute to his former co-star in an emotional post

The actor is seen as Mark Jeffries in Chicago Justice

The actor is seen as Mark Jeffries in Chicago Justice 

Weathers signed with the Oakland Raiders as a free agent in 1970 and played in seven games for the Raiders in 1970. The Raiders released him in September 1971.

Weathers signed with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League and played for the Lions until 1973.

During the off-seasons, Weathers attended San Francisco State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in drama in 1974.

He retired from football in 1974 and began pursuing an acting career.

His first starring roles came in  Bucktown (1975) and Friday Foster (1975) and he appeared in an early 1975 episode of the sitcom Good Times  

He also guest-starred in a 1975 episode of Kung Fu and appeared as a loan shark in an episode of the crime-drama Starsky and Hutch.

The star was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 14, 1948, During his time in school he exhibited an aptitude for sports and later played football as a defensive end in college (pictured 1979)

The star was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 14, 1948, During his time in school he exhibited an aptitude for sports and later played football as a defensive end in college (pictured 1979)

He started his college career in 1966 at Long Beach City College and after sustaining an ankle injury he then transferred and played for San Diego State University (pictured 1966(

He started his college career in 1966 at Long Beach City College and after sustaining an ankle injury he then transferred and played for San Diego State University (pictured 1966(

The star is pictured with first wife Mary Ann Castle and sons Jason and Matthew in 1988

The star is pictured with first wife Mary Ann Castle and sons Jason and Matthew in 1988

Weathers is pictured with third wife Jennifer Peterson in 2000 - they were wed from 2007-2009

Weathers is pictured with third wife Jennifer Peterson in 2000 – they were wed from 2007-2009

After shooting to fame in Rocky the star appeared in actions films Force 10 from Navarone (1978), Predator (1987), Action Jackson (1988), and Hurricane Smith (1992). 

He also appeared in Michael Jackson’s Liberian Girl music video and co-starred in the 1996 Adam Sandler comedy Happy Gilmore as golf coach Chubbs Peterson. He would reprise the role in 2000 film, Little Nicky.

Sandler paid tribute to Weathers with a poignant post, writing: ‘A true great man. Great dad. Great actor. Great athlete. So much fun to be around always. Smart as hell. Loyal as hell. Funny as hell. 

‘Loved his sons more than anything. What a guy!! Everyone loved him. My wife and I had the best times with him every time we saw him. Love to his entire family and Carl will always be known as a true legend.’

In 2019 he debuted as Greef Carga in several episodes of the first season of the Star Wars series, The Mandalorian. He would play this role until 2023 and earn a Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor

In 2019 he debuted as Greef Carga in several episodes of the first season of the Star Wars series, The Mandalorian. He would play this role until 2023 and earn a Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor 

Weathers’ TV appearances include Sgt. Adam Beaudreaux on the cop show Street Justice, Hampton Forbes on In the Heat of the Night (1992–1994) and MACV-SOG Colonel Brewster in the CBS series Tour of Duty.

Weathers’ soared back to fame in 2004 playing a parodied version of himself in comedy series Arrested Development. 

In 2019 he debuted as  Greef Carga in several episodes of the first season of the Star Wars series, The Mandalorian. He would play this role until 2023 and earn a Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor.

The star also directed two episodes of the hit show. 

Dolph LundgrenSylvester Stallone

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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