A football star at San Diego State, Carl Weathers played professionally with the Oakland Raiders, acting in local stage productions during the off-season. Weathers went on to play with the British Columbia Lions in the Canadian Football League, then retired from sports in 1974, the better to devote all his time to an acting career. After yeoman service in a handful of "blaxploitation" flicks, he rose to fame as the Muhammad Ali-inspired Apollo Creed in the first Rocky film. Apollo Creed's adversarial relationship with Rocky Balboa mellowed into warm friendship in the course of the next three Rocky installments; indeed, when Apollo was killed off by "superboxer" Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV (1985), the tragedy served as the motivation for the retired Rocky to climb into the ring yet once more. Weathers' post-Rocky projects have included the title role in Action Jackson (1988), the Sidney Poitier part in the 1985 TV-movie remake of The Defiant Ones, and the TV series Fortune Dane, Street Justice and Tour of Duty. In the early 1990s, Weathers replaced Howard Rollins Jr. in a group of In the Heat of the Night 2-hour TV specials. He developed a knack for comedy later in his career, appearing in Happy Gilmore, Little Nicky, and making a particularly memorable cameo in the sitcom Arrested Development as a stew-obsessed acting coach. In addition to his show business work, Carl Weathers has been active with the Big Brothers Association and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Attended San Diego State University on an athletics scholarship.
- Picked up by the Oakland Raiders as a free agent in 1970.
- After playing one season with Oakland, moved to the CFL and played for the BC Lions for thee seasons before retiring from football in 1974.
- Began acting in 1975 on the TV show Good Times and in the blaxploitation films Bucktown and Friday Foster.
- Starred as Apollo Creed in the Oscar-winning film Rocky, plus three of the sequels.
- First leading role was in the 1988 crime drama Action Jackson, which was a critical and box-office failure.
- Took on assorted comedy roles, including the character Chubbs in Adam Sandler's films Happy Gilmore and Little Nicky, and Tobias Fünke's acting coach on the sitcom Arrested Development.
- An active member of both Big Brothers Association and the United States Olympic Committee.