As news spread on Friday of the death of actor and director Carl Weathers, filmmakers and former co-stars noted the breadth of his career. From his work in iconic drama and action films like the “Rocky” franchise — in which he played the pugilist Apollo Creed — “Predator” and “Action Jackson,” to film comedies like “Happy Gilmore,” to television shows like the “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” and “Arrested Development,” Weathers was a versatile performer.
So memorable were his roles — and physique — that even his arm from a scene in “Predator,” which makes up one-half of the popular handshake meme, has become a part of his varied and lasting legacy.
Jon Favreau, creator of “The Mandalorian,” said in a statement, “I am heartbroken by this devastating loss. He was a hero from my childhood who I was lucky enough to meet and then had the amazing good fortune to work with. He had the energy and curiosity of a young man paired with the wisdom that his rich life and career afforded him.”
Weathers appeared in the hit 1996 comedy “Happy Gilmore” as Derick “Chubbs” Peterson, a retired golfer who becomes coach to Adam Sandler’s title character. Weathers reprised the role for a cameo in Sandler’s 2000 film “Little Nicky.”
Sandler posted online, saying of Weathers, “A true great man. Great dad. Great actor. Great athlete. So much fun to be around always. Smart as hell. Loyal as hell. Funny as hell. Loved his sons more than anything. What a guy!! Everyone loved him. My wife and I had the best times with him every time we saw him. Love to his entire family and Carl will always be known as a true legend.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, who appeared with Weathers in “Predator” (and is the other arm of the handshake meme) posted, “Carl Weathers will always be a legend. An extraordinary athlete, a fantastic actor, and a great person. We couldn’t have made Predator without him. And we certainly wouldn’t have had such a wonderful time making it.”
Weathers appeared in three seasons of “The Mandalorian” as bounty hunter Greef Karga and directed episodes in both the second and third seasons.
Pedro Pascal, who plays the title character of “The Mandalorian,” posted simply, “Words fail,” along with a photo of Weathers.
Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez said of Weathers: “A very kind and generous person. His performances were always electrifying and he was also a terrific director of both stage and screen.”
Jesse Ventura, who also ppeared with Weathers in “Predator,” said, “A phenomenal talent, a true professional, and a dear friend. All my sympathies and love to his family. I loved working with him on Predator and then celebrating that film with him at various conventions in the ensuing years.”
Comedian Leslie Jones remarked, “Say it ain’t so!!”
L.A.’s Beyond Fest called Weathers “one of the kindest, most humble, and most human guests we’ve ever had the pleasure of hosting. We lost a real one today.”
And the X account for the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain referenced the famed theme song for “Rocky III” posting, “Thank you for showing us the eye of the tiger.”