Carl Weathers had been performing on television and in feature films since 1973. Two years before that, he had a short-lived career playing for the Oakland Raiders. He’s had numerous iconic performances and, for a time, was one of the action stars of the ’80s with his performances in Action Jackson and Predator. His role as Apollo Creed in the Rocky franchise made him a cinematic icon, as his character’s legacy lived on after they killed him off in Rocky IV to be the starting base for the Creed franchise.
Carl Weathers proved he could light the screen up in supporting or leading roles. As long as he’s on the screen – he’s giving it his all. Fans all over the world are sadly grieving the actor’s passing. Carl Weathers passed away at the age of 76 on February 2, 2024. He will greatly be missed, but his legacy lives on in his iconic roles, some being in the biggest movie franchise of all time. In honor of the great stars passing, these are the best performances of Carl Weater’s career.
Update February 2, 2024: This article has been updated following the passing of Carl Weathers. More great performances have been added to this list, where you can stream these titles of a cinematic icon.
9 Psych (2006 – 2014)
Sometimes, an actor only needs to appear in one episode to make an impression, and Carl Weathers certainly had a great habit of doing that from guest spots in shows like The Shield and ER. Weathers always impressed. Yet his best guest spot came on the hit television show Psych, which is about a fake psychic detective. Weathers appeared in the season five episode “Viagra Falls”, where he played an older detective, Floyd Boone, alongside his partner Don Peters (William Devane).
One Episode is All You Need
Floyd and Don are meant to serve as parallels to the series’ titular characters, Shawn (James Roday Rodriguez) and Gus (Dule Hill), as two private detectives from the 1980s who had their own unconventional ways but were more respected by the police than Shawn and Gus are. Weathers gives a great comedic performance, playing the entire episode with a tough-guy intensity that contrasts with the series’ more lighthearted tone. The best moment is when he tells someone, “We are going to find him and kill him,” to where his own partner even needs to remind him they aren’t going to kill someone and that he just got caught up in the moment. Weathers was a great addition to Psych, and the real shame is that he never returned for another episode. Yet, in just one episode, he stole the show. Stream on Peacock and Prime Video.
Release Date July 7, 2006
8 Happy Gilmore (1996)
Happy Gilmore is often cited as one of the best Adam Sandler comedies. Its staying power was pretty obvious when it returned to Netflix. There’s even a supposed sequel being thrown around. Weathers plays Chubbs Peterson, a former golfer that was once considered to be the best in the world. At least, until an alligator bit his hand off. Weathers plays this self-serious character perfectly, and is a total highlight of the movie. He even gets to showcase his singing range as well.
A Great Supporting Character
At this point, Carl Weathers had pretty much established himself as an action star. He hadn’t dipped his toes into the world of comedy, and thanks to this movie, it wouldn’t be the only time either. He would go on to work with Adam Sandler again, and make several appearances in comedy television series. It’s an earnest, hilarious, and important role in Carl Weathers’s career. It really helped set him apart from the ‘action star’ type casting that he faced in the ’80s. Stream on Tubi.
7 Action Jackson (1988)
Action Jackson is easily Carl Weathers at his absolute hugest. He got completely yolked for this role, and it fits right into the type of macho lead action movies that highlighted the ’80s. Action Jackson has Carl Weathers playing Sergeant Jericho “Action” Jackson, a disgraced detective who was demoted due to his actions on the job investigating a crime lord. Jericho isn’t willing to give up on the case- and continues to look into it, no matter how dark the rabbit hole is.
Definitive Action Hero
The role isn’t exactly nuanced. There’s no finely layered character motivations or arcs, but it doesn’t need that. It’s a fun, high stakes action movie where the hero is the hero and the villains are the villains. Unlike many of the other roles he’s played, Carl gets his chance to shine in a leading role. He plays it with a lot of charisma and excitement. Carl Weathers saying, “How do you like your ribs?” before blowing up a bad guy with a grenade launcher tells you everything you need to know. Rent on Prime Video or AppleTV+.
6 Star vs. The Forces of Evil (2015 – 2019)
Carl Weathers had a very commanding voice, so it made sense he would often be approached to do voice work. One of his best and out-of-left field ones was on the hit Disney XD series Star vs. The Forces of Evil. The series follows the adventures of Star Butterfly (voiced by Eden Sher), the young, turbulent heir to the royal throne in the dimension of Mewni, who is sent to Earth to mellow her reckless behavior. There, she befriends and becomes roommates with human Marco Diaz (Adam McArthur) and begins a semi-normal life in Echo Creek, attending school and meeting new friends while also jumping between dimensions on adventures. Weathers plays Omnitraxus Prime, the master of space-time.
A Different Role
Weathers’s commanding voice is a natural fit for this cosmic character, an old god-type figure. It was great to see him stretch his wings and not only step into an animated project but one aimed at young kids, allowing him to be introduced to an entire new generation of fans. For many younger viewers, this might have been the first time they heard his voice, and they likely picked up on it in other projects. Weathers’ role in Star vs. The Forces of Evil is vital to the series but also to his career, as it shows he was never afraid to take risks. Stream on Disney+
5 Toy Story of Terror (2013) / Toy Story 4 (2019
Carl Weathers voiced Combat Carl in the television Halloween special, Toy Story of Terror, made between Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4, which showed the adventures of Andy’s former toys with Bonnie. Fans of the Toy Story franchise will remember that Combat Carl was the toy that Sid blew up back in the first movie, but Toy Story of Terror finally delves into the character, allowing Weathers to play a riff on G.I. Joe and his own action hero personas of the 1980s in films like Rocky and Predator.
Combat Carl Is a Great Toy
Weathers’ tough guy persona and demeanor make the character of Combat Carl that much funnier, contrasting how the sillier characters interact with a toy of such intensity and drive. Weathers truly delivered in the part and even returned in a cameo for Toy Story 4 as a pair of Combat Carls, one with the humorous bit that everyone keeps forgetting to high-five him. Combat Carl showed that no matter how small (literally) the part was, Weathers would shine. Stream Toy Story of Terror and Toy Story 4 on Disney+
Toy Story 4
Release Date June 19, 2019
Director Josh Cooley
4 The Mandalorian (2019 – Present)
Weathers was a veteran genre actor through the 1980s and 1990s, and in 2019, he finally got to join one of the biggest when he signed on to The Mandalorian and finally joined the Star Wars franchise. He played the role of Greef Karga, the head of the Bounty Hunters guild who, over the course of the series, goes from ally to foe back to all of the titular Mandalorian. In season two, he became High Magistrate of the planet Nevarro and turned the planet around, becoming a major political and playing a vital role in season 3 of the series. He is arguably the most important supporting character in The Mandalorian outside of the title character and Grogu, as he appeared in ten episodes of the series before his passing.
An Emmy Nominated Performance
Weathers described the role as “one of the greatest things that’s happened in all of the years that I’ve been in entertainment” (via Collider). Weathers also got to flex his creative muscles on the series, directing two episodes of the series. He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role in the series. While the Mandolarian story will continue in the upcoming film, The Mandalorian & Grogu, Weathers will sadly not be part of it now, and he will be greatly missed. His character, Greef Karga, had the perfect mix of commanding presence with a joyful charm that made him one of the best characters in the franchise. Stream on Disney+.
3 Arrested Development (2003-2019)
Playing yourself is hard as an actor. It can lead down a path of needless self-indulgence that just makes it come across as a vanity project. Thankfully, when Carl Weathers joined the cast of Arrested Development as himself in 2003 – he would not be afraid to poke fun at himself. The show was already considered one of the most underrated shows of all time, and Weathers helped make that happen.
Carl Weathers, the character, is a self-obsessed con man who keeps using acting classes as a way to pry money from the clueless Tobias Fünke (David Cross). He’s constantly coming up with schemes on how to save money and helps himself to something free whenever there’s chaos going on.
Great Comedic Actor
It’s a limited role, but he eats up every scene and has provided some of the most quotable moments in the entire series, including the now fan-favorite line, “You got yourself a stew going”. Despite only appearing in four episodes – Carl Weathers has marked his place in one of the greatest television shows of all time. He showed he wasn’t afraid to make fun of himself, and laughing at yourself is the best form of humor. Stream on Netflix.
2 Predator (1987)
Featuring what may be the best handshake scene in any movie, Predator finds Carl Weathers playing the action star-type character that he does so well. Alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, Weathers’s trip into sci-fi would be a very memorable one. It’s become a cult classic and is recognized as one of the best of the decade. Carl Weathers plays Colonel Al Dillon, a friend of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer, and both are tasked with rescuing a politician in the jungle. What they don’t realize – is that they’re not alone.
Legendary Film by a Legendary Actor
Dillon, much like his character in Action Jackson, isn’t a terribly complex character. It’s Weathers’ natural charisma and on-screen presence that makes this role so memorable. As with the iconic handshake, Carl Weathers may have orchestrated the best death scene of any action movie to date. Predator is both a cult classic and one of the most iconic influential movies of all time that still delights fans to this day. Weathers is a big part of this film’s legacy. Stream on Max.
1 Rocky I – IV (1976 – 1985)
The character of Apollo Creed may be Carl Weathers’ most famous role – and one that would continue to have an impact on the spin-off, Creed. Altogether, Weathers would play this role in four different movies and was even considered for a revival of sorts in Creed 2. It’s a character that people love, and it’s hard to imagine anyone but Carl Weathers playing it. Apollo originally served as the main villain in Rocky.
Throughout the course of the next three movies, Apollo grows and changes into a good friend to Rocky. He would train him in Rocky 3 but would ultimately perish at the hands of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) in Rocky IV. By the time this happens, audiences have already grown to love his character. He went from the enemy to someone that they actively rooted for.
His Most Iconic and Important Role
If it weren’t for the performance that Carl Weathers gave, the emotional impact of the Creed franchise wouldn’t have worked at all. It might not have even existed. The Rocky films have always been stories of redemption and fighting against the odds. The character arc that Apollo Creed goes through in those movies perfectly encapsulates everything that they represent.
Now, just like his character in the franchise, Weathers is sadly gone, but his legacy will live on not just in the Rocky franchise that continues with Creed but for moviegoing audiences in the future that want to visit Predator, Toy Story, Star Wars, Arrested Development, and much more iconic franchise. Weathers’ is a part of movie history, and he will be greatly missed. Stream Rocky, II, III, and IV on Max.