Carl Weathers, who played Apollo Creed in the Rocky films, dies at 76 Entertainment News

Co-stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone pay tribute to the NFL linebacker-turned-actor.

Carl Weathers, who played enemy-turned-friend Apollo Creed in the Rocky film series, has died. He was 76 years old.

“Carl was an extraordinary human being who lived an extraordinary life,” the Withers family said in a statement on Friday.

“Through his contributions to film, television, the arts and sports, he has left an indelible mark that is recognized around the world and across generations.”

Carl Weathers, a former NFL player turned Hollywood action star, is perhaps best known for playing Rocky Balboa’s rival-turned-ally in Rocky and its three sequels opposite Sylvester Stallone.

Rocky, released in 1976 and starring the largely unknown Stallone, was an unexpected commercial and critical success, winning the Academy Award for Best Picture and propelling both actors to prominence.

Weathers also had memorable roles as brash Colonel Al Dillon in the 1987 film Predator, starring alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, and as one-handed golf coach Chubs Peterson in the Adam Sandler-led comedy, Happy Gilmore.

Most recently, Weathers starred in the Star Wars spin-off series, The Mandalorian, a role that earned him an Emmy nomination.

Stallone on Friday praised Withers, saying the success of the Rocky films would not have been possible without his co-star.

“When he walked into that room, and I saw him for the first time, I saw greatness,” Stallone said in a video he posted on Instagram.

“I would never have been able to accomplish what we did with Rocky without him. He was absolutely amazing. His voice, his size, his strength, his athletic ability, but most importantly, his heart and his spirit.”

Schwarzenegger described their joint debut as a “legend.”

“An exceptional athlete, a great actor and a great person… We couldn’t have made Predator without him,” Schwarzenegger said in a message on Instagram. “We certainly could not have had such a great time making this film. Every minute with him, both on set and off, was a pure joy.

Born in New Orleans, Withers played American football at San Diego State University and with the Oakland Raiders before retiring from the game in 1974 to pursue an acting career.

He appeared in more than 75 films and TV shows during a Hollywood career that spanned more than 50 years, according to Deadline.

Withers, who was married and divorced three times, leaves behind two sons.

“He was a beloved brother, father, grandfather, partner and friend,” his family said in their statement.

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