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Carl Weathers, former NFL player and star in "Rocky" movies dies at 76

Carl Weathers, the actor who was known for playing boxer Apollo Creed in the "Rocky" films, has died, according to his manager. He was 76 years of age.

His manager, Matt Luber said, "We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers" He added that the actor died peacefully in his sleep Thursday.

Luber 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."

Carl Weathers

In addition to the "Rocky" films, Weathers had memorable roles in films including "Predator" and "Happy Gilmore." He also appeared on TV in the crime drama "Street Justice" and on the sitcom "Arrested Development." In 2021, he was nominated for an Emmy for his recurring role in the "Star Wars"-inspired streaming series "The Mandalorian", according to ABC News.

Before his acting career, Weathers was a football star at San Diego State University and later played in the NFL for the Raiders. He played a total of eight regular NFL season games before turning his attention to acting, according to the Raiders website.

"I just remember being bitten by the [acting] bug when I was in grade school," Weathers said in an interview with WGN Morning News last year.

ABC News reported that his first acting roles were small parts in the 1975 films "Friday Foster" and "Bucktown."

The following year, he was cast in the first "Rocky" film as Apollo Creed, a character inspired by real-life boxing champion Muhammad Ali. Creed was the rival of Stallone's Rocky Balboa in the first two "Rocky" films, then became one of the protagonists in "Rocky III" and in "Rocky IV," according to ABC News.

After "Rocky," Weathers went on to star in films including "Predator" in 1987 and Adam Sandler's "Happy Gilmore" in 1996. He also was in several television shows including "Chicago Justice," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and more. He even lent his voice to "Toy Story 4," in which he played Combat Carl, and "Star vs. the Forces of Evil."

Weathers is survived by his two sons.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.