Carl Weathers At 71: Still Going Toe-To-Toe With Hollywood
Carl Weathers, best known for his role in the original hit film and it’s sequels, Rocky has been acting for over four decades and still continues to keep his name out there in Hollywood. Weathers enjoys a whole new set of fans from his role in the funny Happy Gilmore with Adam Sandler and on the series Arrested Development.
Weathers, an action star in his own right, had the unique opportunity to work with both Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the prime of their careers. Appearing with Schwarzenegger in 1987’s Predator, Weathers said there was always competition among the men in the cast — all gym rats — on set, including Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham and Bill Duke.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, he graduated in 1966 and then attended Long Beach City College and San Diego State University. During high-school Weathers was an all around athlete, involved in boxing, football, gymnastics, judo, soccer, and wrestling. He earned his B.A. in Drama from San Francisco State University in 1974.
Weathers had a brief professional career with the Oakland Raiders from 1970 – 71 all the while going back to school to get his degree in drama.
Though Weathers was a high school and college football star, his real passion in school was acting. “I was all inspired by seeing Sidney Poitier on screen,” said Weathers, who has also been a director for 20 years. “The first time I saw him, I think, was ‘Lilies of the Field,’ and what probably closed the deal for me was when I saw him and Tony Curtis in ‘The Defiant Ones.'”
He retired from football in 1974, and began pursuing an acting career. But it was in 1976, that Weathers met then unknown playwright, Sylvester Stallone, and was awarded the part of “Apollo Creed”.
“I’ve been fortunate that my focus has been, every decade, to reinvent myself. As audiences change, it’s incumbent of me as a performer to find that audience to be able to connect with that audience. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to change but I have to be aware of what audiences like and deliver a performance that the audience will warm up to. At the same time I have to stay true to what I think is good, bad or ugly, and act accordingly. I’ve been really fortunate that these projects have come along. These are things that I want to do and I like doing and capable of doing, and the audience seems to have embrace that. It’s of course a challenge, but why get up in the morning if you are not to challenge yourself and have some fun doing it.”
While watching Creed, the seventh film in the Rocky franchise, Weathers says he was moved by the endearing, but not over-the-top connections to the original 1976 film.
“I don’t think I would call it a sequel,” says Weathers. “In my mind, it is its own entity. I think it stands on its own.”
Although the actor does not make an appearance in Creed (he is shown in pictures in the film), Weathers said he felt…