RIP Carl Weathers

American actor Carl Weathers has died at the age of 76, according to his family. Weathers, who starred as Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky films, “died peacefully in his sleep”, according to a statement released by his family. His other film credits include Predator, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore. ¬†His roles included boxer¬†Apollo Creed¬†in the first four¬†Rocky¬†films¬†(1976‚Äď1985), Colonel Al Dillon in¬†Predator¬†(1987), and¬†Combat Carl¬†in the¬†Toy Story¬†franchise.

He also portrayed Det. Beaudreaux in the television series¬†Street Justice¬†(1991‚Äď1993) and¬†a fictionalized version of himself¬†in the comedy series¬†Arrested Development¬†(2004, 2013), and voiced Omnitraxus Prime in¬†Star vs. the Forces of Evil¬†(2017‚Äď2019). He had a recurring role as¬†Greef Karga¬†in the¬†Star Wars¬†series¬†The Mandalorian¬†(2019‚Äď2023), for which he was nominated for the¬†Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana as an eighth-grade student, he earned an athletic scholarship to St. Augustine High School, a private school. Weathers played college football for the San Diego State Aztecs. He then transferred and played for San Diego State University, becoming a letterman for the San Diego State Aztecs in 1968 and 1969, helping the Aztecs win the 1969 Pasadena Bowl. He signed with the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League (NFL) after going undrafted in the 1970 NFL Draft. After being released by the Raiders, he signed with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Weathers retired from football in 1974, and began pursuing an acting career.

He had his first significant roles in two¬†blaxploitation¬†films directed by his longtime friend Arthur Marks:¬†Bucktown¬†(1975) and¬†Friday Foster (1975). ¬†In 1976, he appeared as a loan shark in an episode of the crime-drama¬†Starsky & Hutch, and in the¬†Barnaby Jones episode “The Bounty Hunter” as escaped convict Jack Hopper. While auditioning for the role of¬†Apollo Creed¬†alongside¬†Sylvester Stallone¬†in¬†Rocky, Weathers criticized Stallone’s acting, which led to him getting the role.¬†He reprised the role of Apollo Creed in the next three¬†Rocky¬†films:¬†Rocky II¬†(1979),¬†Rocky III¬†(1982), and¬†Rocky IV (1985). Weathers briefly appears as an Army¬†MP¬†in one of the three released versions of¬†Close Encounters of the Third Kind (originally released in 1977).

In the late 1970s and 1980s, Weathers starred in a number of action films for the small and big screen, including 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 Chubbs, a golf legend teaching Happy how to play golf. Another notable television role was Sgt. Adam Beaudreaux on the cop show¬†Street Justice. Afterwards, during the final two seasons of¬†In the Heat of the Night (1992‚Äď1994), his character, Hampton Forbes, replaced Bill Gillespie as the chief of police. In 2004, Weathers received a career revival as a comedic actor beginning with appearances in three episodes of the¬†comedy¬†series¬†Arrested Development¬†as a cheapskate¬†caricature of himself.

In 2019, Weathers appeared as¬†Greef Karga¬†in several episodes of the first season of the¬†Star Wars¬†series,¬†The Mandalorian. He returned for the second season and also directed the episode “Chapter 12: The Siege”. He returned for season 3 and directed the episode “Chapter 20: The Foundling”. His performance earned him an¬†Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor. Weathers and his ex-wife, Mary Ann, had two sons.

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