Carl Weathers, the former football star turned actor, has passed away. He was 76. Weathers was a former Oakland Raider who quickly made a name for himself in Hollywood as Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky films. Weathers also appeared in Predator, becoming a meme all because of a handshake decades later, The Mandalorian, Happy Gilmore, Action Jackson, and dozens of other films and TV shows.
“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers,” his family said (via Deadline). “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.”
During his 50-year screen career, Weathers appeared in over 75 movies and TV shows. His most recent role was part of the cast of the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian over its three seasons, playing Greef Karga, the head of the Bounty Hunters Guild. The character became close to Pedro Pascal’s Din Djarin as the series went on. Weathers was nominated for a 2021 Emmy for the role and also directed a pair of episodes in Seasons 2 and 3.
“It puts you on the map and makes your career, so to speak. But that’s a one-off, so you’ve got to follow it up with something. Fortunately, those movies kept coming, and Apollo Creed became more and more in people’s consciousness and welcome in their lives, and it was just the right guy at the right time,” he told The Daily Beast in 2016.
Weathers had a comedic side, too. He joined Adam Sandler as Derick “Chubbs” Peterson in Happy Gilmore, playing the title character’s golf coach. Chubbs was a pro golfer who was forced to leave the tour after losing his hand to an alligator; his wooden replacement hand was a running gag in the movie. Of course his brief stint as an exaggerated version of himself in Arrested Development as an “acting teacher” to David Cross’ Tobias Funke.