Entries in Alex Karras (2)


Alex Karras, Actor, Ex-NFL Star, Dead at 77

Vernon Biever/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Alex Karras, the Detroit Lions football star-turned-actor, has died, ABC News Radio has confirmed.  He was 77.

Karras was reported to be ill and near death just a few days ago.  His lawyer, Craig Mitnik, tells ABC News Radio, "He was an amazing man in everything he did.  He fought really, really hard through his dementia and cancer.”

Karras was with the Lions from 1958–1962 and from 1964-1970, and was part of the 1962 Lions' vaunted "Fearsome Foursome" defensive line.  In 1968, he played himself in the movie Paper Lion, which kick-started his acting career.  After Karras was released by the Lions in 1971, he turned to acting full-time.

Among Karras' most memorable roles are Mongo, the loveable bully who punched out a horse in the 1974 Mel Brooks classic Blazing Saddles, and George, the adoptive father of Emmanuel Lewis' title character on the sitcom Webster.  His real-life wife, Susan Clark, played his wife in that series.  Karras also had a notable role in the film Victor/Victoria, playing a closeted gay bodyguard.

Karras also appeared in the movies Against All Odds and Porky's.  His TV work also included roles in M*A*S*H, Centennial, Arlis$$ and The Odd Couple.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Actor and NFL Star Alex Karras Near Death

Vernon Biever/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Former NFL great and actor, Alex Karras, is reportedly near death, following recent kidney failure.

The 77-year-old has been given only a few days to live, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Karras, a defensive tackle, was drafted 10th overall in 1958 by the Detroit Lions, and he played for the team his entire NFL career. Following his retirement from football in 1970 at the age of 35, Karras took up acting, playing Mongo in the Mel Brooks movie "Blazing Saddles" and lovable dad George Papadapolis on the ABC series "Webster."

Karras' former team is already extending its sympathies to the All-Pro defensive lineman. Lions President Tom Lewand said in a statement released late Monday night that the "entire Detroit Lions family is deeply saddened to learn of the news regarding one of our all-time greats.

Karras quit acting in 1998, and in his later years, was plagued by numerous health problems, including dementia. He is among the more than 3,000 players suing the NFL over the league's treatment of head injuries.

There have been a number of high-profile cases of former NFL players who have serious health problems stemming from the lingering effects of head trauma endured in their playing days. Depression caused by head trauma is said to have played a part in the suicides of Ray Easterling, Junior Seau and Dave Duerson.

The NFL has said it never purposefully misled the athletes, as the players allege, and is working toward a better understanding of concussions and how to protect players.

Catherine Lincoln, general manager of Clark Karras Properties, told the Detroit Free Press that Karras was released from the hospital over the weekend, and is currently in hospice care at his home in California.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio