Carl Weathers, a former NFL linebacker turned Hollywood actor, has passed away at the age of 76. The news was shared by Weathers’ family, who said he died “peacefully in his sleep” on Thursday.
After four years of playing professional football, Weathers graduated with a degree in drama in 1974 and retired from the sport to focus on acting. His breakout role arrived just two years later when Weathers portrayed heavyweight champion Apollo Creed in Rocky. He would go on to reprise the role for three additional Rocky films.
Following his final Rocky appearance in 1984, Weathers acted alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura in 1987’s Predator. Most of his starring roles were drama and comedy flicks.
Weathers clocked another standout role playing High Magistrate Greef Karga in Disney+’s Star Wars spinoff, The Mandalorian, for which he appeared in all three seasons, earned an Emmy nomination and also directed one of the show’s episodes.
“I enjoy both [acting and directing] thoroughly but I’ve fallen in love with directing,” Weathers told Hypebeast in a 2023 interview. “It allows me to provide my personality and artistic bent, there’s so much more opportunity to be creative because you’re really involved with the entire piece, working on every aspect of it.”