Alex Karras, NFL Star Turned Popular Actor
Karras worked extensively in both film and television, including the long-running ABC comedy series Webster.
Alex Karras, a foot ball star for the Detroit Lions who went on to become successful actor in films such as Blazing Saddles and the popular television series Webster, died Otober 10, 2012, in Los Angeles. he was 77.
According to news reports, he had been suffering from a variety of health problems, including cancer, kidney failure and dementia.
After a standout career at the University of Iowa, Karras joined the Lions in 1958 as the tenth player selected in the draft. Following a formidable, occasionally tumultuous, NFL career — which included a suspension for betting on games — he became a performer.
In 1971 he was named to the all-time Lions team. He retired during the following year.
Post-football, he hosted a television talk show in Chicago and spent three seasons with ABC’s NFL Monday Night Football, starting in 1974.
Karras broke into acting while still playing football, with a role in the 1968 feature film Paper TIger and a guest appearance in a 1969 episode of the TV series Daniel Boone.
He went on to score roles in feature films, including Blazing Saddles, Porkeys, Against All Odds and Victor/Victoria.
HIs numerous TV appearances included The Odd Couple, McMillan & Wife, Love, American Style, M*A*S*H, Arli$$, The Tom Show and the miniseries Centennial.
In 1975 he starred opposite actress Susan Clark in the TV movie Babe, about Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias. He and Clark, who later married, also starred together in Webster, in which they played the adopted parents of a young African-American child played by Emmanuel Lewis. The series aired from 1983-1989.
More about his life and work is available at: