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Alex Karras, Former NFL Star And Actor, Dies
NPR ^ | 10/10/12 | Mark Memmott

Posted on 10/10/2012 10:49:04 AM PDT by iowamark

Alex Karras, who was a star defensive lineman for the Detroit Lions in the 1960s and went on to gain other fame for his acting in Hollywood's Blazing Saddles and TV's Webster, has died, according to multiple reports.

He was 77 and had been suffering from kidney failure, as People magazine earlier reported. His death has been reported to The Associated Press by Karras' attorney, Craig Mitnick, and to USA Today by the Lions.

The Associated Press reminds us that:

"Karras became a bit of a celebrity through George Plimpton's behind-the-scenes book about what it was like to be an NFL player in the Motor City, Paper Lion: Confessions of a Second-string Quarterback. That led to Karras playing himself in the movie adaption, and it opened doors for him such as being an analyst alongside Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford on Monday Night Football.

"Karras had a well-known appearance as Mongo in the 1974 movie Blazing Saddles and was a star in the 1980s sitcom Webster. He took on another role this year as lead plaintiff in a complaint against the NFL by ex-players who claim the league didn't do enough to protect them from head injuries."

IMDB.com has cataloged Karras' acting career here. For those of us who were young and enjoyed director Mel Brooks' movies back in the '70s, his performance as Mongo in Blazing Saddles is some classic comedy. If you haven't seen his most famous moment from that movie in a while, there's a clip of it here (and, no, we're not endorsing the punching of horses).

Karras missed the 1963 NFL season. He and the Green Bay Packers' Paul Hornung "were suspended by [Commissioner] Pete Rozelle for betting on NFL games and associating with gamblers," as ESPN writes.

Update at 11:35 a.m. ET. Daughter Confirms The News:

"Tom McInerney, owner of McInerney's Woodhaven Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and a friend of Karras since the 1950s, said he heard the news [of the death] from Karras' daughter, Katie," the Detroit News reports.

Update at 11:05 a.m. ET. A "Bull-Necked Defensive Tackle" Who Was "Ahead Of His Time As A Multimedia Personality."

The Detroit Free Press begins its appreciation of Karras with this:

"Alex Karras, a bull-necked defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions who chased NFL quarterbacks on muddy fields more than 50 years ago but was ahead of his time as a multimedia personality, died today in Los Angeles. He was 77 and had been suffering from dementia and kidney failure.

"Karras never slowed down after a 13-year NFL career — he was suspended one season for gambling — turning to an acting career he'd built in previous off-seasons. He appeared in movies, TV shows and commercials, and spent three years (1974-76) in the Monday Night Football booth, once declaring, 'I'm the bridge between Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford. I'm there to have a little fun.' "



TOPICS: Sports; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: again; alexkarras; athletes; karras
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RIP
1 posted on 10/10/2012 10:49:13 AM PDT by iowamark
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2 posted on 10/10/2012 10:50:49 AM PDT by iowamark
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To: Springman; cyclotic; netmilsmom; RatsDawg; PGalt; FreedomHammer; queenkathy; madison10; ...
Alex Karras has passed.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
3 posted on 10/10/2012 10:52:37 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: iowamark

No more Mongo.


4 posted on 10/10/2012 10:53:13 AM PDT by arrogantsob (The Disaster MUST Go. Sarah herself supports Romney.)
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To: iowamark
RIP Mongo.

He was just slightly before my time, but he is a Detroit Lion!!

5 posted on 10/10/2012 10:53:29 AM PDT by softwarecreator
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To: iowamark
Prayers up for his family.

/johnny

6 posted on 10/10/2012 10:55:03 AM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: iowamark
Loved watching this guy on the field and off....

What a Great man...he will be missed.

7 posted on 10/10/2012 10:57:49 AM PDT by thingumbob (I'm a bitter clinger...I dare you to take my gun)
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To: iowamark
Loved watching this guy on the field and off....

What a Great man...he will be missed.

8 posted on 10/10/2012 10:58:02 AM PDT by thingumbob (I'm a bitter clinger...I dare you to take my gun)
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Against all odds! A flawed classic from the 80's with one of the best movie scores from the period (the title song doesn't come till the closing credits).

Alex Karras plays Sully, who, if I'm not wrong, dies from a gun shot by the extraordinarily beatiful Rachel Ward.

One of the best "chase" scenes ever involving Woods and Bridges.

Don't forget Kid creole and his coconuts.

Beach Volleyball before it was hip!

RIP Mr. Karras

9 posted on 10/10/2012 11:05:27 AM PDT by Jakarta ex-pat
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To: iowamark

Mr. Karras was probably one of the original teddy bear NFL players. He was a great player and an acceptable actor.

He was smart, kind, funny and generous and gave us all lots of fond memories.

Thank you, Alex. And, may God comfort your loved ones with the knowledge that you were a positive influence on so many people.


10 posted on 10/10/2012 11:09:50 AM PDT by DustyMoment (Congress - another name for white collar criminals!!)
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To: arrogantsob

11 posted on 10/10/2012 11:13:59 AM PDT by EEGator
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To: Jakarta ex-pat

Yup, Alex Karras was great in “Against All Odds.” Flawed only in the sense that it was implausible. But exciting and well-done given the ridiculous plot.


12 posted on 10/10/2012 11:16:29 AM PDT by whitedog57
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To: EEGator

Even though I as a fanatic Bears fan, I thought Karras was great (when he wasn’t on top of Bill Wade). He definitely was a man who followed his own star, a free spirit (like Hornug) and man of many talents.


13 posted on 10/10/2012 11:17:21 AM PDT by arrogantsob (The Disaster MUST Go. Sarah herself supports Romney.)
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To: DustyMoment

And GREAT in the Garner/Andrews musical “Victor/Victoria” as Jim Garner’s gay body guard.


14 posted on 10/10/2012 11:17:44 AM PDT by whitedog57
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To: All

He uttered one of the greatest movie lines in all of history, “Mongo only pawn in the game of life.”


15 posted on 10/10/2012 11:19:39 AM PDT by Turbo Pig (...to close with and destroy the enemy...)
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To: arrogantsob

Or Webster’s adoptive dad.


16 posted on 10/10/2012 11:22:19 AM PDT by RochesterNYconservative (ROMNEY/RYAN 20121)
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To: arrogantsob

It stinks when the good ones go, but he’s in a better place now.

It said he had dementia. I wonder if he sustained lots of concussions during his NFL career...


17 posted on 10/10/2012 11:22:19 AM PDT by EEGator
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To: iowamark
I saw him on Carson one night. Truman Capote was also on and got his panties in a wad over Alex smoking a cigar. Needless to say, Alex was not very intimidated and kept his stogy.
18 posted on 10/10/2012 11:29:50 AM PDT by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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To: iowamark

A Hawkeye great from the Forest Evashevski Rose Bowl years. Karras was winner of the Outland Trophy and Heisman Trophy runner up.

He came from the days when college football played “single platoon,” but there was never any doubt where he liked to play.


19 posted on 10/10/2012 11:30:33 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (In the game of life, there are no betting limits)
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To: EEGator

They just called it “having your bell rung” back then. Charming, eh?


20 posted on 10/10/2012 11:31:14 AM PDT by arrogantsob (The Disaster MUST Go. Sarah herself supports Romney.)
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To: RochesterNYconservative

I never watched that show but it had a long run.


21 posted on 10/10/2012 11:33:17 AM PDT by arrogantsob (The Disaster MUST Go. Sarah herself supports Romney.)
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To: arrogantsob

Just a cute way for saying brain damage. Charming indeed.


22 posted on 10/10/2012 11:38:40 AM PDT by EEGator
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To: iowamark

Butkus, Nitschke, and Karras...the best 3 middle linebackers in the history of the game.


23 posted on 10/10/2012 11:46:58 AM PDT by traderrob6
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To: traderrob6

Loud mouth.

Denverites still WAITING for him to walk back to Detroit ! ! Wings don’t count in this game.

Guess he could never admit his mouth overruled his ability.

That was when Hall of Famer Floyd Little was rookie member on first AFL team to defeat an NFL team and changed the game forever.


24 posted on 10/10/2012 11:51:40 AM PDT by snoopy 'n linus
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To: iowamark

God bless you, Mr. Karras. I am praying for your family.


25 posted on 10/10/2012 11:54:23 AM PDT by righttackle44 (I may not be much, but I raised a United States Marine.)
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To: traderrob6
Butkus, Nitschke, and Karras...the best 3 middle linebackers in the history of the game.

Hmmmm... Karras wasn't a linebacker. He was a Defensive Tackle.

Now you could have added Joe Schmitt, who played MLB for the Lions during Karras' career, to your list.

Anyway... RIP to Alex.

26 posted on 10/10/2012 12:04:26 PM PDT by Ditto (Nov 2, 2010 -- Partial cleaning accomplished. More trash to remove in 2012)
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To: traderrob6

... except Mr. Karras was a tackle, not a linebacker. The guy right behind him, the middle linebacker, was another great, Joe Schmidt.


27 posted on 10/10/2012 12:08:56 PM PDT by xvq2er
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To: Ditto

My bad, was a long time ago. The statement still stands for the other two though.


28 posted on 10/10/2012 12:10:36 PM PDT by traderrob6
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To: Ditto

“No, no. Don’t shoot him. If you shoot him you’ll only make him mad.”

R.I.P. Alex Karras


29 posted on 10/10/2012 12:17:54 PM PDT by RedStateNotShirt
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To: Turbo Pig

I also liked “Awwwwwww, Mongo straight!”


30 posted on 10/10/2012 12:28:40 PM PDT by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: iowamark

RIP Mongo.


31 posted on 10/10/2012 12:34:55 PM PDT by Ratman83
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To: EEGator

Several have passed that played in Blazing Saddles. Mongo, Sherrif Bart {Cleavon Little}, Slim Pickens, Headly Lammar {Harvey Korman}, Gabby {Jack Starrett} the prospector, Dom DeLuise BTW Carol Arthur his wife played Harriet Johnson the school teacher {is still living}, Anne Bancroft not credited but in the church congergation, and I’m sure I miised a few. Rest in Peace Alex.


32 posted on 10/10/2012 12:50:04 PM PDT by cva66snipe (Two Choices left for U.S. One Nation Under GOD or One Nation Under Judgment? Which one say ye?)
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To: iowamark

He was super as the bodyguard who came out of the closet in “Victor/Victoria” - had some very funny and touching scenes - very sad......


33 posted on 10/10/2012 12:53:27 PM PDT by Intolerant in NJ
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To: cva66snipe
Several have passed that played in Blazing Saddles. Mongo, Sherrif Bart {Cleavon Little}, Slim Pickens, Headly Lammar {Harvey Korman}, Gabby {Jack Starrett} the prospector, Dom DeLuise BTW Carol Arthur his wife played Harriet Johnson the school teacher {is still living}, Anne Bancroft not credited but in the church congergation, and I’m sure I miised a few. Rest in Peace Alex.

You left out Madeleine Kahn, who was only 54.

34 posted on 10/10/2012 12:54:00 PM PDT by dfwgator (I'm voting for Ryan and that other guy.)
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To: iowamark

His wife, Susan Clark, is a big big BIG-time Lib. Don’t know if Karras was as well, or if she just liked to drop his name when speaking for Liberal causes.

In any case, RIP, Alex.


35 posted on 10/10/2012 12:54:12 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: cva66snipe

Gene Wilder is still around. I always liked him. Especially in Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.


36 posted on 10/10/2012 12:54:54 PM PDT by EEGator
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To: Buckeye McFrog
His wife, Susan Clark, is a big big BIG-time Lib.

Cherry Forever, is a lib?

37 posted on 10/10/2012 12:55:00 PM PDT by dfwgator (I'm voting for Ryan and that other guy.)
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To: traderrob6

Linebackers? How about Mike Curtis.


38 posted on 10/10/2012 12:57:27 PM PDT by JimmyMc
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To: dfwgator

I really loved her. Unique talent, so funny, beautiful gal. They don’t make comediennes like that anymore, none...zero...not at all.


39 posted on 10/10/2012 1:04:02 PM PDT by Tuanedge (Warriors victorious in a hundred battles, flee when a tiger enters their tent.)
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To: iowamark

Yes, that is too bad! I remember his being on Johnny Carson’s show. He had a very dry sense of humor, which I really enjoyed.


40 posted on 10/10/2012 1:07:53 PM PDT by Twotone (Marte Et Clypeo)
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To: iowamark

RIP


41 posted on 10/10/2012 1:13:35 PM PDT by Larry Lucido (Romney/Ryan 2012)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
A Hawkeye great from the Forest Evashevski Rose Bowl years.

Yes, I knew that Karras played for Iowa in the 1950s. But they only had one Rose Bowl appearance under Evashevski, maybe because the Big Ten had a "no repeat" rule for the Rose Bowl representative at that time?

42 posted on 10/10/2012 1:20:52 PM PDT by justiceseeker93
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To: Tuanedge

Yep, there are a few people that when I heard they passed, gave me a real punch to the gut, Madeleine was one of those.


43 posted on 10/10/2012 1:22:40 PM PDT by dfwgator (I'm voting for Ryan and that other guy.)
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To: justiceseeker93

1957 Iowa 35, Org State 19
1959 Iowa 38, Cal 12


44 posted on 10/10/2012 1:40:04 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (In the game of life, there are no betting limits)
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To: traderrob6

Funny. Those were the exact same three I thought of.


45 posted on 10/10/2012 1:54:03 PM PDT by Erasmus (Zwischen des Teufels und des tiefen, blauen Meers)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Sorry of the error on that, Eric in the Ozarks. But Karras only played for the first of those two Rose Bowl champions. He was a rookie for the Lions in 1958. (Just looked that up to be sure.)


46 posted on 10/10/2012 2:59:31 PM PDT by justiceseeker93
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To: iowamark
RIP Mongo
47 posted on 10/10/2012 3:06:56 PM PDT by KeyLargo
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To: snoopy 'n linus
That was when Hall of Famer Floyd Little was rookie member on first AFL team to defeat an NFL team and changed the game forever.

Yes, but that Denver win vs. the Lions was only a pre-season exhibition and didn't really count. Prior to that, teams from the AFL had only faced the Lombardi-coached Packers in two Super Bowls and had been drubbed pretty badly. So Karros and other NFL players arrogantly assumed that any NFL team could easily beat any AFL opponent.

IIRC, there were other AFL teams who beat NFL teams that exhibition season, including the Jets beating the Giants.

But in Super Bowl III following that same season, the Jets with Joe Namath upset the Colts (missing Johnny Unitas for most of the game). That was the first AFL win over the NFL that counted. The leagues had previously agreed to merge completely the following year, so you can't really say that any one result "changed the game forever." What forced the merger was more the competitive bidding that increased the salaries for players coming out of college. Cheapskate owners didn't like it.

48 posted on 10/10/2012 3:28:59 PM PDT by justiceseeker93
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To: traderrob6
Butkus, Nitschke, and Karras

Wow, those names bring back memories.

Karras played Mongo, but he also memorably played the bodyguard in Victor/Victoria, a great, great movie. The scene where James Garner tells him to handle Lesley Ann Warren as she rams a pike through the door at them was hysterical.

RIP, Alex.

49 posted on 10/10/2012 3:58:46 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
A Hawkeye great from the Forest Evashevski Rose Bowl years.

My father attended Iowa a few years after he got out of the Air Force, and because he was going to coach as well as get his teaching certificate, he had a Phys Ed course or two. During that time, there were only two guys dad knew of who could not climb a rope to save their butts: he and Alex Karras. Despite being rope-challenged, they both went on to their respective careers and did just fine.

Dad did not care for a lot of the other athletes who were at Iowa in those days. He and his younger brother were both veterans of the Korean War, and they would not take crap from anybody regardless of who they were (or who they thought they were)... but dad liked Alex Karras ("a fun guy... terrible at gymnastics, but a fun guy").

Mr. niteowl77

50 posted on 10/10/2012 5:11:06 PM PDT by niteowl77 (Getting stuck with other peoples' just desserts good and hard for over 50 years.)
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