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NFL player turned distinguished actor Carl Weathers dies at 76

One of Hollywood’s biggest stars Sylvester Stallone praises Weathers for his success.   

Such a sad event to kick off Black History Month, as Carl Weathers has contributed to the cultural experience through his athletic prowess and his art through the many varied roles that he has perfected.  

In the family message, Weathers’ death was somberly acknowledged: 

“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers,” his family said in a statement, according to Deadline. “He died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, February 1st, 2024.” The statement continued: “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. He was a beloved brother, father, grandfather, partner, and friend.” 

Weathers played in dozens of films but was widely known early on for his star turns in the “Rocky” franchise, playing boxer Apollo Creed.  

Sylvester Stallone paid a rousing tribute to Weathers in an Instagram post following his passing. 

“I give him incredible credit because when he walked into that room, and I saw him for the first time, I saw greatness, but I didn’t realize how great. I never could have accomplished what we did with ‘Rocky’ without him. He was absolutely brilliant, his voice, his size, his power, his athletic ability, but more importantly, his heart, his soul. Apollo, keep punching.” 

Other Industry folks were equally surprised by the New Orleans’ native’s death and posted comments on social media.  

Giancarlo Esposito wrote on “X,” “I will sorely miss my dear friend & brother Carl Weathers. You are truly one of the most wonderful human beings I have had the honor and pleasure of spending time with! I am grateful for your influence and support of all things good in my life. This is how I will always remember you.” 

Arnold Schwarzenegger, who starred with Weathers in the 1987 film “Predator,” posted: “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.” 

Bill Duke, who starred as Weathers’  superior in “Action Jackson,” wrote: “I’m deeply saddened to hear about the passing of #CarlWeathers. He was a remarkable individual who touched the lives of many. While words may offer little solace in moments like these, I’m wishing his family strength, peace and blessings in the days ahead.”   

Weathers most recently appeared in “The Mandalorian” as Greef Karga from 2019 to 2023, alongside Pedro Pascal—for which he earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2021. 

In 2018, Weathers told Yahoo Entertainment: “I’ve been fortunate that my focus has been, every decade, to reinvent myself. As audiences change, it’s incumbent on me as a performer to find that audience to be able to connect with that audience. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to change but I have to be aware of what audiences like and deliver a performance that the audience will warm up to.” 

Weathers’ movie roles included: “Friday Foster” with Pam Grier in 1975. “Rocky” franchises in 1976, 1979, 1982 and 1985. He also starred in “Creed,” along with Stallone and Michael B. Jordan in 2015.  

Other movie roles included “Action Jackson” in 1988, along with Vanity. In this film, Weathers was a demoted powerhouse Lieutenant in the Detroit Police Department. The film was filled with action—not only with gun play, but with him chasing down a taxi cab and using his martial arts’ skills to disarm one bad guy after another. One co-star in the film referred to him as the “defiantly, indefatigable Action Jackson.” The 1996 “Happy Gilmore;” “The Comebacks in 2007 and “Toy Story” in 2019 were other Weathers’ film roles.  

He starred in the television program “Arrested Development” from 2003-2019, as well as “Law and Order,” “Chicago PD” and “In the Heat of the Night.” 

Weathers was also a member of the Big Brothers Association and the U.S. Olympic Committee, handling the career of athletes.  

His football career started at San Diego State, and he played with the Oakland Raiders and retired from the sport in 1974.  

He is reportedly survived by two sons. 

Elaine Hegwood Bowen Photo Plus

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