(StraightNews.org) – Carl Weathers, who played Apollo Creed in the original Rocky movies, has died at the age of 76. His family released a statement saying he died peacefully in his sleep and described him as “an exceptional human being” who left an “indelible mark” on the arts, sport, film, and television. “He was a beloved brother, father, grandfather, partner, and friend,” the statement read.
Weathers played Apollo Creed in the first four movies of the Rocky series. He also performed opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator and Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore. In 2021, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for his part in the Disney Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian.
Tributes to the actor appeared on social media, including one from Rocky co-star Sylvester Stallone, who wrote on Instagram, “We lost a legend yesterday. My life was forever changed for the better the day I met Carl Weathers. Rest in power and keep punching.”
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1948, Weathers earned an athletic scholarship to the private St. Augustine High School as a teenager and was active in several sports, including boxing, football, and gymnastics. He played football for Long Beach City College before transferring to San Diego State University and joining the San Diego State Aztecs.
Mr. Weathers joined the NFL and played for the Oakland Raiders in 1970, but still considered acting his greatest love. He retired from professional football in 1974 to focus on drama and won his first roles in Bucktown and Friday Foster, both directed by his friend Arthur Marks. After some guest appearances, he won his big break in 1985 in Rocky, notably after criticizing Sylvester Stallone’s acting abilities. “I tell people I think I got the job because Sly wanted to beat the hell out of me,” he later joked.
The two actors spoke of their fight scenes, in which they endured real and painful punches. Mr. Weathers married three times and had two sons.
Copyright 2024, StraightNews.org