Actor Carl Weathers celebrated his birthday on Thursday and many movie fans, of course, know him as Apollo Creed from the “Rocky” movies.
Weathers turned 73 years old on Thursday. His popularity spans generations from those who saw the first “Rocky” into other iconic roles, too.
The actor has played quite a number of characters worth remembering throughout his career. Let’s take a look at three of them from the movies “Rocky,” “Happy Gilmore,” and “Predator.”
Carl Weathers Plays Apollo Creed In 4 ‘Rocky’ Films
Carl Weathers played in the National Football League. Once done there, he turned his attention to acting where he picked up a couple of roles in “blaxploitation” films. Then, Weathers happened to find himself auditioning for the role of Apollo Creed with Sylvester Stallone.
As a side note, Stallone wanted to write a story about a struggling fighter overcoming the odds but couldn’t find inspiration.
One night, he was watching Chuck Wepner fight world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in the 1970s. Wepner was given zero chance to win but something amazing happened during the battle.
Ali got knocked down. Wepner connected on a punch and sent Ali to the canvas. When Stallone saw this, he felt like there could be some reality to his own story. He took a pencil, paper, and within a matter of a day or two he had the screenplay written for “Rocky.”
Carl Weathers Had Tough Start Heading Into ‘Rocky’ Role
Recalling his audition for the first film, Weathers said he got off to an inauspicious start.
“There was nobody to read with, and they said you’re going to read with the writer (Stallone),” Carl Weathers said, beginning to chuckle.
“And we read through the scene and at the end of it, I didn’t feel like it had really sailed, that the scene had sailed, and they were quiet and there was this moment of awkwardness, I felt, anyway,” Weathers said.
“So I just blurted out, ‘I could do a lot better if you got me a real actor to work with,'” he said, laughing. “So I just insulted the star of the movie without really knowing it and not intending to.”
The original picture and the fourth film, in which Apollo Creed fights and is ultimately killed by Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), are Weathers’ favorites.
Weathers Portrays Chubbs Peterson In ‘Happy Gilmore’
By the mid-1990s, starring roles for Carl Weathers weren’t as plentiful. He made a career choice, though, and started looking to play sidekick roles instead.
Much to his credit, Weathers caught the eye of comedian Adam Sandler in 1996. Sandler, who built up a record of success during his time on “Saturday Night Live,” was still at the beginning of his movie career with “Happy Gilmore.”
Weathers got the role of Chubbs Peterson, the one-handed golfer who helped teach Happy about the game. He brought a level of eccentricity to the role, which earned him high marks. The movie also introduced Weathers to a whole new generation of movie-goers.
Chubbs is a former golf player who had his hand bitten off by an alligator. Later on, when he saw the head of the alligator, Chubbs gets so terrified and scared that he fell out of a window. He either died because of a heart attack or because of the window fall.
One of Chubbs’ recognizable features was his wooden right hand, a rather deft touch and tip of the movie cap toward Weathers’ role in “Predator.”
Weathers Plays Major George Dillon In ‘Predator’
In 1987, Carl Weathers found himself hooked up with Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Predator.” Weathers played Major George Dillon in the first movie of the series.
“What I remember is … more fun than anything else,” Weathers said in a 2017 interview. “I mean, I was 30 years younger – I could run around, do all kinds of things, then get up the next morning and do it all over again and not really feel it!
“But we had great times,” he said. “It was a great group of guys, crazy guys, in the jungle, smoking big cigars during the day, drinking really good drinks at night … just having fun. And getting pumped up every day – pumpin’ iron!”
“Predator” launched an entire franchise. The latest film in the series was “The Predator” in 2018.
Weathers said that he feels like “a very fortunate guy” to have been a part of the action classic as well as the “Rocky” series.
“It’s kind of phenomenal when I take the time to take a look at it,” Weathers said. “I guess I’m just very fortunate that I’ve always been in the right place at the right time!”
What a life Weathers has led from football to the big screen and even television roles. He’s looking to keep his career going strong for a long time to come.