by Tim Gordon
The man who will forever be defined by his role as Apollo Creed in Rocky, Carl Weathers has died. He was 76.
Weathers was a highly-recognizable actor, and director who came to film by way of his prowess as a football player. Known for his iconic role as boxer Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky films, Weathers also shined in several other roles including Colonel Al Dillon in Predator, and Combat Carl in the Toy Story franchise.
Weathers launched his career playing college football at San Diego State University. He signed with the Oakland Raiders after going undrafted in the 1970 NFL Draft and later played in the Canadian Football League after his release.
Weathers began working as an extra while still playing football, landing his first significant roles in two blaxploitation films directed by his longtime friend Arthur Marks: Bucktown and Friday Foster. He also appeared in several prominent television shows such as Good Times, Kung Fu, Cannon, Starsky & Hutch, and Barnaby Jones.
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, Rocky III, and Rocky IV.
He also brought that same intensity to his work later in his career in Street Justice, as well as a fictionalized version of himself in the comedy series Arrested Development, and voiced Omnitraxus Prime in Star vs. the Forces of Evil. In addition, Weathers had a recurring role as Greef Karga in the Star Wars series The Mandalorian, for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.