‘Rocky’ and 'Predator' Star Carl Weathers Dead at 76

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Legendary actor Carl Weathers has died at the age of 76, his manager confirmed to Variety on Friday. His cause of death has not been announced, but his family noted that he "died peacefully in his sleep" on Thursday. His ex-wife, Mary Ann, and their two sons paid tribute to the star in a statement.

"We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers," they said. "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 was best known for playing Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky films, but he had a notable career as a linebacker before spending more than 50 years as an actor. Weathers played for Long Beach College and San Diego State before going pro. He played with the Oakland Raiders from 1970–’71, and with the BC Lions from ‘71–’73.

He began his acting career in 1973, just three years before he played Creed in Rocky. He also had memorable roles opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1987’s Predator, and Adam Sandler in 1995’s Happy Gilmore. He worked with Steven Spielberg on Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and played the title hero in 1988’s Action Jackson, opposite Vanity and Sharon Stone.

In later years, Weathers reunited with Sandler several more times, for Little Nicky (2000) and Eight Crazy Nights (2002). He also played a penny-pinching version of himself on cult sitcom Arrested Development, teaching the characters how to make stew from discarded bones. In 2021, Weathers was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his turn on The Mandalorian.