Athlete-Turned-Actor Carl Weathers, Who Played Apollo Creed In 'Rocky' Movie, Dies

Carl Weathers' career spanned five decades and included over 75 appearances in movies and TV, beginning with the Blaxploitation films of the mid-1970s.

Credit: X/DiscussingFilm
Carl Weathers (left) and Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky movie. Photo: Credit: X/DiscussingFilm

Carl Weathers, a former NFL linebacker who became a Hollywood action movie and comedy star, playing nemesis-turned-ally Apollo Creed in the “Rocky” movies, facing off against Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Predator” and teaching golf in “Happy Gilmore,” has died. He was 76. (More Sports News)

His manager Matt Luber confirmed the news. His family issued a statement saying that Weathers has died 'peacefully in his sleep'.

"We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers," his family said, according to Deadline.

"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."

The statement did not include the cause of his death.

Weather's career spanned across five decades and included over 75 apperances in movies and TV shows, starting with the Blaxploitation films of the mid-1970s.

Weathers will be fondly remembered for the role of Apollo Creed, who stood in the way of Stallone's 'Rocky Balboa'. The 1976 movie 'Rocky' that was based on boxing, saw Weathers' character take on Slyvester Stallone's Rocky. The film won 1977's best picture Oscar, as well a statue for director John Avildsen, and scored a host of other nominations.

Weathers reprised his role as Apollo Creed in "Rocky II" in 1979, which saw a rematch against Balboa.

He was back again for 1982's "Rocky III," and again for a final outing in 1985's "Rocky IV," in which Creed was killed in the ring by a Russian heavyweight played by Dolph Lundgren.

Post the news, stars took to social media to pay their tribute to Weathers.

“Carl Weathers will always be a legend,” Schwarzenegger wrote on Instagram. “An extraordinary athlete, a fantastic actor and a great person. We couldn’t have made ‘Predator’ without him. And we certainly wouldn’t have had such a wonderful time making it.”

“When he walked into that room and I saw him for the first time, I saw greatness. ... I never could have accomplished what we did with ‘Rocky’ without him.'"

“We lost an icon,” former “Predator” co-star Jesse Ventura wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Carl Weathers was a phenomenal talent, a true professional and a dear friend.”

(With AP inputs)