NFL legend, professional wrestler and actor Alex Karras
passed away today of complications of kidney disease. He was
Karras played defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions for 12
seasons, attaining Pro Bowl status four times and was part of
the “Fearsome Foursome” which included Darris McCord, Roger Brown
and Sam Williams. If not for his suspension during the 1963 season
for betting on the 1962 NFL Championship Game, Karras would have
been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But Karras was arguably better known as an actor than as a
football player. That career began when he
played himself in the film version of George Plimpton’s best-seller
Paper Lion. Karras was in movies such as Porky’s,
Victor Victoria and Against All Odds. But Karras is
undoubtedly best remembered for his portrayal of Mongo in Mel
Brooks’ Blazing Saddles in which he, shall we say,
horse on the set.
Karras spent the late 1970s as a commentator on ABC’s Monday
Night Football and in the 1980s became known as a TV Dad
playing Emmanuel Lewis’ adoptive father alongside Susan Clark (to
whom he was married in real life) in Webster.
I remember Karras hosting an episode of SNL in 1984
because he and Jim Belushi dressed up in golf gear and did a white
guy rap and wish I could leave you with it but I cannot find the
video online. Instead, I will leave you with these words of wisdom from
About the Author
Aaron Goldstein writes from Boston, Massachusetts.
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