Rocky's Apollo Creed actor Carl Weathers dies at 76; arteriosclerosis named as cause
Weathers auditioned for "Rocky" as a relatively unknown actor, bringing to the table a year of acting experience and a professional American football background. During his audition, he notably exhibited a defiant demeanor, even challenging Sylvester Stallone directly.
"I was provided with a dialogue scene, but there wasn't a partner for me. They informed me that the screenwriter, Sly, would stand in. I was unaware that Sly was not only a writer but the leading actor," Weathers recalled in an interview with 'The San Diego Union Tribune'. "We ran lines together, but it felt off. So I remarked, 'Get me a real actor, and it will go better'. Despite my audacious behavior, they still hired me. I later learnt that Sly said in my absence: 'I want this guy, he's as arrogant as Apollo Creed'."
Weathers went on to play Creed four times, until his character was written out following a fatal fight with Ivan Drago. In an intriguing turn of events two decades later, when Stallone was creating the sixth film in the Rocky franchise, he sought Weathers' approval to feature archive footage of him. Weathers declined, suggesting that his character should be resurrected and he should return in front of the camera. Stallone deemed this proposal unrealistic and instead hired a stand-in resembling Weathers for the flashback scenes. The two finally resolved their differences a few years later.
Weathers's final noteworthy performance was as mercenary Greef Karga in the series 'The Mandalorian, ' earning him an Emmy nomination. He died peacefully in his sleep on February 1. The 'Daily Mail' reported that Weathers had suffered from arteriosclerosis for several years, which ultimately led to his death.