Carl Weathers, the actor known for playing Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky films, has died at 76.
Carl Weathers’s cause of death was revealed by his family.
His family revealed in a statement through his agent to publicize that he died “peacefully in his sleep” on 1 February.
“Carl was a remarkable human being who lived an exceptional life,” as the statement continues. “Through his contributions to film, television, the arts, and sports, he has left an immortal mark and is acknowledged across the globe and in future generations as well. His every phrase was beloved as a brother, father, grandfather, partner, and friend.”
Carl Weathers’s career was gracious and impressive.
After becoming a star of football in college in the 1960s, he retired from a professional career in the early 70s; Weather started playing small roles in blaxploitation cinema in Bucktown and Friday Foster.
“I was bitten by the bug, as they say,” Weathers said in 2023. “On stage, having people laugh at the good lines and applaud at the end – it’s pretty, pretty infectious. Once that bug gets inside you, it’s kind of hard to give it up.”
His break was in 1976 when Rocky took on the role of the real-life boxer Ken Norton. He got the role after criticizing Stallone’s acting in the audition. “Sometimes, because of mistakes, you get the gig,” he said in 2015.
In 2020, he said about playing the role of a boxer: “It was difficult to avoid taking the punches on the set. There were times when we intentionally went at each other. I was always in tension that if I hit Sly, and threw a punch right, he might get hurt. And there was no reason for that. And I think that he was likely the same way.”
Weathers then played roles in the next three Rocky films, opposite to Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1987’s Predator and then the lead in 1988’s Action Jackson.
Sylvester Stallone mentioned Carl Weathers as “an integral part” of his life. On Instagram, Sylvester described himself as “torn up” at the news. “Carl Weathers was an indiscernible part of my life, my success … I give him amazing credit,” he said. “When he came into that room, and I looked at him for the first time, I saw greatness, but I didn’t realize how great he was. I never could have achieved what we did with Rocky without him. He was marvelously brilliant.”