Iconic Roles: Carl Weathers’ Best Performances

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Written By Sedoso Feb

Today, we received the sad news that iconic actor Carl Weathers passed away at 76. The man, the myth, the legend appeared in over 80 TV shows and movies throughout his storied career dating back to the early 70s. Most of us know him as Apollo Creed in the Rocky franchise. Still, the NFL player-turned-actor demonstrated remarkable versatility during his run, including memorable voice work and stints in comedy series such as Arrested Development.

As a tribute to our fallen hero, we present our favorite Carl Weathers roles, listed in no particular order.

Apollo Creed – Rocky Franchise

We’ll get the big one out of the way first. Had Apollo Creed been Weather’s only gig, it would’ve been enough to cement him in the Hall of Fame. A memorable character who initially starts as a riff on Muhammad Ali before morphing into Rocky’s BFF in Rocky III and Rocky IV, Creed is bold, larger-than-life, charismatic, and one of the few to beat the Italian Stallion in the ring. His violent defeat at the hands of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV remains top-tier heart-wrenching cinema, and perhaps, as Sylvester Stallone admits, a misstep the franchise never fully recovered from. The Rocky franchise owes as much to Weathers as it does Stallone, and it wasn’t the same without him.

Chubbs – Happy Gilmore

Weathers clearly didn’t take himself too seriously, as evident by his hilarious turn as Chubbs, the ill-fated instructor who teaches Adam Sandler how to putt in 1996’s Happy Gilmore. A former golfer, Chubbs’ life took a turn for the worse when he lost his hand to an alligator(!), an event that put an end to his professional career. Weep not, dear viewer, for Chubbs steps in just in time to aid Gilmore’s quest to beat the mighty Shooter McGavin. Though he ultimately pays for this endeavor with his life, he does manage to enjoy peace and tranquility in the afterlife.

Himself – Arrested Development

Arrested Development stands amongst the great TV shows (for its first three seasons, at least), and made great use of its ensemble cast and a handful of glorious guest appearances. Weathers only appears intermittently but makes the most of his limited screen time. Here, the actor plays a version of himself, a former-star-turned-struggling actor with an affinity for stew who scams Tobias Fünke (David Cross) during his bid to become a movie star. “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” he says when Tobias chucks some food in the trash. “There’s still plenty of meat on that bone. You take this home, throw it in the pot, add some broth, a potato — baby, you got a stew going!” Gets me every time.

Combat Carl – Toy Story Tale of Terror

Weathers enjoyed quite the voice acting career, giving life to characters in films such as Eight Crazy Nights and Balto III and video games like Mercenaries and (more recently) The Artful Escape. Still, his best gig arrived in 2013 when he lent his vocals to Combat Carl in Pixar’s terrific Toy Story of Terror. Carl, a decorated soldier/action figure who speaks in the third person, aids Jessie, the Yodeling Cowgirl, during her escape from a sleazy motel and delivers one helluva pep talk. It’s a brief gig that somehow steals the show. Weathers reprised the character in Toy Story 4 and will hopefully appear in Toy Story 5, assuming they pre-recorded his performance.

Dillon – Predator

As much as I love Creed, I will always see Weathers as Dillon, the shady CIA operative caught up in a jungle skirmish versus a violent, tech-heavy extra-terrestrial in John McTiernan’s Predator. Starring opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger is no small feat, but Weathers stands out thanks to an intense performance that makes you feel for the guy despite his treacherous ways.

It helps that he’s the only character in the film who enjoys anything close to an arc, transforming from an untrustworthy turncoat to a noble friend willing to die for his mates. A real sense of history exists between Arnold’s Dutch and Weathers’ Dillon, and it’s a shame the two stars didn’t team up on more projects if only to give us more of this:

Rest in peace, legend. We’re gonna miss you.


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