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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

From SFSU to Hollywood: Remembering Carl Weathers

The legendary actor got his start in acting while attending SFSU
An+illustration+of+Carl+Weathers+as+Apollo+Creed%2C+a+character+in+the+first+four+Rocky+movies%2C+one+of+his+most+famous+roles.+%28Adriana+Hernandez+%2F+Golden+Gate+Xpress%29
Adriana Hernandez
An illustration of Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed, a character in the first four Rocky movies, one of his most famous roles. (Adriana Hernandez / Golden Gate Xpress)

Carl Weathers, the beloved actor known for the “Rocky” movie franchise and “The Mandalorian” series, and San Francisco State University alum, died on Friday, Feb 2. He was 76.

After starring in a vast number of films and shows, Weathers died peacefully from the aftereffects of heart disease with his family by his side in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles.

His family released a statement to NBC News following the announcement of Weathers’ death. 

“Carl was an exceptional human being who lived an extraordinary life,” the statement said.

“Through his contributions to film, television, the arts and sports, he has left an indelible mark and is recognized worldwide and across generations,” his family said. “He was a beloved brother, father, grandfather, partner, and friend.”

Weathers received his bachelor’s degree in drama from SFSU in 1974.

“Carl Weathers’ passing is most certainly a terrible loss to the craft of acting and the film industry,” said Kim Schwartz, the director of the School of Theatre and SFSU dance professor. “I’m sure the up-and-coming Black actors who have lost a role model are feeling this more accurately than most. We are proud that he honed his craft here in these theaters and classrooms.”

Even after 50 years, Weathers’ legacy still strongly impacts SFSU today.

“Mr. Weathers accomplished so much in his life personally and professionally,” said Nicole Marie Lange, SFSU’s associate vice president of alumni relations and university engagement.

After Weathers established his love for drama when he received his bachelor’s degree, he furthered his education by earning a master’s degree in theater arts from SDSU.

“We are proud he earned his degree in drama here at SF State,” Lange said. “He brought intensity, compassion and sincerity to his acting roles and to the causes he believed in. He is a very distinguished example of how great our alumni are.”

The values of the characters portrayed by Weathers continue to inspire his admirers and fans alike.

His character of Apollo Creed in the ‘Rocky’ movies — the values of the character aligned in many ways with Carl’s personality and willingness to keep up and never surrender,” said Pablo Riquelme Cuartero, cinema lecturer and production coordinator for SFSU.

After meeting Weathers, Cuartero felt inspired. Weathers also influenced his professional career and personal growth in the film industry.

Cuartero continues to carry what he’s learned from Weathers and reflects on when he asked the actor how to work with prominent actors on set who may feel intimidating.

“‘As a director, how can I give my best if I’m under pressure?’ He then told me that he remembered when he was on the movie set of ‘Predator,’ everyone was intimidated by Arnold’s incredible and special physique. Then, Carl simply told himself, ‘I’m not going to let his body intimidate me. I’m going to go to the gym three times per day.’ That was Carl Weathers. As I said, never give up and always keep up the good work.”

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About the Contributors
Zac Zavala, Staff Reporter
Zac Zavala (he/him) is a Bay Area resident who transferred from The Los Angeles Film School as a creative producing major. Originally from Southern California, Zac switched to journalism with a minor in history once he landed at SF State. Zac has vast experience working in the entertainment industry in film and television. Zac is also part of the production team for the Academy Awards and a former Walt Disney Imagineer. Zac is striving to be a groundbreaking producer and multimedia journalist. In his free time, Zac travels to different parts of the world for inspiration and is a runner.
Adriana Hernandez, Editor-In-Chief
Adriana Hernandez (she/her) is the Editor-In-Chief for Golden Gate Xpress. She is majoring in journalism and minoring in media literacy. Adriana has a passion for storytelling, culture, art, and design. She previously wrote for The Skyline View, the student newspaper of Skyline College. In her downtime, she enjoys reading and watching films. For any inquiries, you can contact me at [email protected].  

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