Obituary: Carl Weathers, actor

Carl Weathers. Photo: TNS
Carl Weathers. Photo: TNS
Former NFL player Carl Weathers did not hit great heights when he lined up with Oakland Raiders, but retiring from sports to pursue acting put his name up in lights. While Sylvester Stallone was the main man on the Rocky films, the character worked best when he had someone to riff off, and that someone was initial rival and then confidante and friend Apollo Creed, aka Carl Weathers.

"I never could have accomplished what we did with Rocky without him," Stallone said.

Born in New Orleans in 1948, Weathers’ athletic abilities earned him high school and university scholarships. He began acting as an extra while still a football player and after his retirement picked up bit parts on Kung Fu and Starsky and Hutch. When he auditioned for Apollo Creed he questioned the abilities of the then unknown Stallone, a feistiness which helped earn him his own part in the Rocky stories. A series of action movies followed (Predator, Force 10 From Navarone and Action Jackson) before he turned his hand to comedy, starring opposite Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore.

After a regular spot on sit-com Arrested Development roles started to dry up, until Weathers enjoyed a late career revival as Greef Karga in The Mandalorian. Weathers died on February 1 aged 76. — Agencies