Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Actor and NFL Great, Alex Karras, Dies

Professional football player Alex Karras played his entire NFL career with the Detroit Lions. After starring for four years at the University of Iowa, the Lions drafted Karras with the 10th overall pick in 1958. He was a four-time All-Pro defensive tackle, making it to the first team in 1960, 1961 and 1965, and he was also a four-time Pro Bowl selection. After 12 seasons with the Lions (1958 to 1970), he retired in 1971 at the age of 35. Karras was also selected to the 1960s All-Decade NFL team.

Alexander George “Alex” Karras died today (Wednesday, October 10, 2012).  Here's the obituary.

Karras’ football career was long over by the time I started watching NFL games, so I best remember him as an actor. From 1983 to 1987, he was actor Emmanuel Lewis’ adoptive father, George Papadapolis, in the sitcom, Webster. I’ll never forget the shocking murder of Karras’ character, Hank Sully, in Against All Odds (1984).

To me, however, Karras will always be Mongo, the not-so-bright bruiser in Mel Brooks’ classic spoof of Westerns, Blazing Saddles. I fondly remember the scene in which Mongo slugged a horse and also his classic line, “Mongo only pawn in game of life.” [Another favorite moment is when Cleavon Little’s Sheriff Bart announces, “Telegram for Mongo!” during the scene in which Bart tries to capture Mongo.]

I offer my condolences to Mr. Karras’ family. Rest in peace, Alex Karras.

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