The geek community and cinema fans as a whole lost an American treasure earlier this evening when Carl Weathers took his last nap on this earth.
Weathers passed away in his sleep at the ripe old age of 76. He leaves with us a lasting legacy and years of incomparable entertainment.
From The Gridiron To The Silver Screen
Weathers was an accomplished athlete in college and went on to sign a contract as an undrafted free agent with the Oakland Raiders, where he would play linebacker for one season.
After his football career didn’t pan out, Weathers started working as an extra in Hollywood. His first significant roles in acting were courtesy of his longtime friend; blaxploitation director Arthur Marks who featured Weathers in the films Bucktown and Friday Foster. From there, he would guest star on hit shows such as Good Times, Kung-Fu, Starsky and Hutch and Barnaby Jones.
He caught his big break when he auditioned for the role of Apollo Creed in Rocky and had the audacity to criticize Sylvester Stallone’s acting, which earned him respect from Stallone and immortality as one of the best characters in the history of sports movies.
Weathers would reprise his role for the first four movies in the franchise. After Rocky, Weathers would join Harrison Ford in the ill-fated Force 10 From Navarone. While that movie flopped, Weathers wouldn’t have to wait long until he got his next big break, when he starred opposite Stallone’s rival Arnold Schwarzenegger in the blockbuster sci-fi classic Predator.
One year after Predator, Weathers proved that he had what it took to be his own leading man in the hit film Action Jackson which was a hit at the box office and earned him a nomination for an NAACP Image award.
Soon after, Weathers would endear himself to the comedy world when he played the role of Derick “Chubbs” Peterson in Adam Sandler’s classic Happy Gilmore. His last notable role on film was in 2019 when he Provided the voice for Combat Carl in Toy Story 4.
Weathers also lent his voice and likeness to the character of Jax Briggs in Mortal Kombat X.
His Last Role Sent Him Out On Top
The last notable role for Carl Weathers would be as former bounty hunter Greef Karga in the hit Star Wars spinoff: The Mandalorian.
Weathers was a great example of the “heroes journey” and character development as the one-time adversary turned ally to the titular character. Weathers did such a good job with the role, he would go on to be nominated for a Prime-Time Emmy Award for outstanding guest actor in a drama series.
Weather’s role in The Mandalorian was an impactful one and I’m not quite sure how show runner Jon Favreau is going to approach the conclusion of the series without him.
Very few actors in Hollywood can claim to have iconic roles. Even fewer can claim that they have entertained and inspired multiple generations of fans in multiple genres of film. Carl Weathers did that with a healthy balance of swagger and grace.
He never basked in the limelight, but everyone knew who he was. He never got to go up on stage and accept an award, but everyone knew he was worthy nonetheless.
He was a man of class and dignity who leaves behind a legacy that he can be proud of as an actor and a man. I will end this article with a quote from the man himself.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Safe home, Carl.
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