How Did Carl Weathers Die? 'Rocky's' Apollo Creed and 'Predator' Star Dies Aged 76 as Tributes Pour In

Weathers previously revealed that he had openly insulted Stallone's acting skills during his audition for Rocky, a move that earned him the role that would define his career.

Carl Weathers, best known for playing Apollo Creed in the "Rocky" film series, has died at the age of 76. The iconic actor died "peacefully in his sleep" on Thursday, his family announced in a statement. "We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers," his family said in a statement, Deadline reported.

"He died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, February 1st, 2024." "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."

A Star Is Dead

Carl Weathers
Carl Weathers X

Born on January 14, 1948, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Carl Weathers enjoyed a career in both movies and television that spanned over five decades. He took on memorable roles in films such as "Predator," "Happy Gilmore," and the popular series "The Mandalorian."

Weathers first appeared in the role of Apollo Creed in the 1976 film "Rocky," reprising the character in "Rocky II" (1979) and "Rocky III" (1982).

Carl Weathers
Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed in 'Rocky' X

The character was killed in the boxing ring by Ivan Drogo (Dolph Lundgren) in "Rocky IV" (1985).

His role as Apollo remains a crucial element in this continuation of the Rocky saga.

Weathers previously revealed that he had openly insulted Stallone's acting skills during his audition for Rocky, a move that surprisingly earned him the role that would define his career.

In an interview with Hollywood Reporter in 2015, he said, "There was nobody to read with, and they said you're going to read with the writer [Stallone]," Weathers said. "And we read through the scene and at the end of it, I didn't feel like it had really sailed, that the scene had sailed, and they were quiet and there was this moment of awkwardness, I felt anyway. So I just blurted out, 'I could do a lot better if you got me a real actor to work with.'

"So I just insulted the star of the movie without really knowing it and not intending to," he recalled.

In a League of His Own

Instead of harming his career, Weathers' candid critique turned out to be a great move. Stallone, upon hearing the snarky remark during the audition, reportedly interpreted it as a statement in line with the character of Apollo Creed.

Carl Weathers
Carl Weathers X

This unexpected exchange played a pivotal role in Weathers landing the role and ultimately contributed to the success of his career in the entertainment industry.

"Sometimes the mistakes are the ones that get you the gig," Weathers said.

In the years that followed, Creed's legacy continued to thrive. Michael B. Jordan took on the role of Adonis, Apollo Creed's son, in the highly acclaimed trilogy of "Creed" movies that depict Adonis' journey as he ascends the professional boxing ranks with the guidance of trainer Rocky Balboa. Rumors suggest that a fourth installment is in development.

Weathers' prolific career extended beyond the boxing ring.

He lent his voice to the character Combat Carl in the "Toy Story" franchise and portrayed a fictionalized version of himself on the television series "Arrested Development."

Carl Weathers
Carl Weathers X

Weathers also made notable appearances on several television shows such as "The Shield," "Street Justice," "Colony," "Chicago P.D.," and "Brothers." His performance in "The Mandalorian" earned him recognition, securing an Emmy nomination in 2021 for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.

On the silver screen, Carl Weathers gained recognition for his roles in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "The Comebacks."

Before taking to acting, Weathers played football in college at San Diego State University, and in 1970, he signed with the Oakland Raiders as a free agent.

Weathers played in the NFL for two seasons, participating in eight games as a linebacker and strong safety.