He became an overnight star alongside his friend Sylvester Stallone as boxing champion Apollo Creed in the global classic “Rocky”, fought for survival in the jungle in sweats alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger as CIA agent George Dillon in “Predator” and ensured law and order as a former mercenary and magistrate of Nevarro in the hit “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian”: Carl Weathers has now died in his sleep at the age of 76. This was announced by his family in a statement, according to media reports:
“It is with deep sadness that we must announce the passing of Carl Weathers. He passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, February 1, 2024. Carl was an extraordinary person who led an extraordinary life. Through his contributions to film, television, the arts and sports, he left an indelible mark and is recognized worldwide and across generations. He was a beloved brother, father, grandfather, partner and friend.”
Before Carl Weathers, who was born on January 14, 1948 in New Orleans, Louisiana, switched to acting, he had already had a short career as a professional American football player as a linebacker. Already in his school days, the athletic Weathers played various sports, including boxing. Later, at Long Beach City College and San Diego State University, his career in American football took shape, which he ended in 1974 after just eight games in two seasons to become an actor.
After his first small (extra) roles, for example in the hit series “Kung Fu“, he had his breakthrough as boxing champion Apollo Creed in the boxing drama “Rocky”. The classic is often cited as the film that turned Sylvester Stallone into a star, but Weathers also reached the next level as an actor with it. The story of the casting process is legendary, when Weathers said during test recordings that he could give a better performance as a boxer if he was only given a real actor as an opponent. Opposite him was Sylvester Stallone, the screenwriter and leading actor of the film. Stallone immediately offered him the role.
Also unforgotten is the sci-fi action film “Predator” by director John McTiernan, in which Weathers fought as part of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s special unit against the deadliest hunter in the entire galaxy. Just watching it gave you the feeling that testosterone production had been boosted – no movie in the already masculine 1980s was more manly.
However, Weathers was not only allowed to stand in front of the camera alongside real action heroes, he himself became an action icon with “Action Jackson” as tough Detroit cop Jericho Jackson in the fight against crime.
Most recently, Weathers reached a new, young audience with his role as Greef Karga in “The Mandalorian”. He also directed two episodes. He has appeared in a total of 75 film and television productions. With the passing of Carl Weathers, the action genre has lost one of its greatest icons.
Farewell to Carl Weathers
In a long Instagram video, the visibly affected Sylvester Stallone gave an emotional farewell speech to his companion and friend Carl Weathers:
“We lost a legend yesterday. My life was forever changed for the better the day I met Carl Weathers. Rest in power and keeping punching.”
Weathers had been an integral part of his life. He would never have achieved what he did with “Rocky” had it not been for his friend Weathers.
“Carl Weathers will always be a legend. 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.”
“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.”
“[…] Carl called me directly after I was fired [from ‘The Mandalorian’]. I wasn’t in an emotional state where I could pick up the phone because of how upset I was, but we did end up speaking later on. He was gentle and encouraging and didn’t want me to give up, he was letting me know that he wasn’t throwing me away, he was trying to keep my hope alive in what seemed like quite hopeless scenario, he showed me he cared. That is who he was.”