Rest In Power, Carl Weathers: The Prototype Athlete-Actor

As athlete-turned-actor Carl Weathers passed, the world lost a giant in the entertainment industry. For the culture, he was like a swole chameleon version of Richard Roundtree. Both physically fit and with range, Weathers gave us everything from “Chubbs” in Adam Sandler’s whimsically toxic movie “Happy Gilmore” to the Black tough-guy hero “Action Jackson.”

But his breakthrough role was as Apollo Creed in the 1976 movie “Rocky.”

The latter character became part of a franchise. Even after his character’s death at the fists of the ultimate villain Ivan Drago in “Rocky IV,” Apollo Creed’s power conveyed through Weathers endured, breathing life into the Rocky Balboa series with the Creed character’s son Adonis Johnson, portrayed by Michael B. Jordan.

Carl Weathers could evoke fear, inspire strength, stoke envy, and still be an everyman. He was a unicorn in an industry where Black men are treated as caricatures. Instead, Carl Weathers was just pure, straightforward, dogged strength and unpretentious authentic bravado.

That’s probably why in 2024, his net worth was reportedly around $9.2 million, with profits coming from his career as an actor and a professional athlete, according to InTouch Weekly.

A former professional football player, Weathers was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on January 14, 1948. He played college football at San Diego State before being drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 1970. He played for the Raiders and later for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League before starting his acting career.

Weathers began his acting career with minor roles in various television shows and movies before landing his legendary role as Apollo Creed. He went on to reprise the role in three sequels. Weathers also appeared in other movies such as “Predator,” as well as TV shows such as “Arrested Development” and “The Mandalorian.”

With unmistakable talent and charisma, Carl Weathers is as beloved a figure in the entertainment industry as all the greats. He might not have been as celebrated as some of his white contemporaries, but in our community, he was a luminary.

Rest in power to the man who subtly reinforced to young Black children that they could embody strength.

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