LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Actor and former NFL star Alex Karras died today at his Los Angeles home. He was 77.
Karras had been in declining health in recent years, suffering from heart disease, stomach cancer, dementia and finally, kidney failure.
Lions president Tom Lewand issued a statement extending the team’s condolence to the family. “We always will fondly remember Alex as one of our own,” he said.
A defensive lineman, Karras played for the Detroit Lions his entire career, from 1958 to 1970, and was chosen for the Pro Bowl four times.
After retiring, Karras worked as a commentator on Monday Night Football, and as an actor. In the 1974 comedy “Blazing Saddles,” the 6-foot-2, 250- pound Karras played Mongo, a character who punches out a horse. In the 1980s, he starred in the television show “Webster,” likely his most memorable gig in front of a camera.
In April, Karras joined more than 2,000 former football players in a class-action lawsuit against the National Football League. The suit claims the league misled players regarding the risks associated with concussion-related injuries — a charge the league denies.
Karras “sustained repetitive traumatic impacts to his head and/or concussions on multiple occasions” during his career, and “suffers from various neurological conditions and symptoms related to the multiple head traumas,” according to an excerpt from the lawsuit.
Karras’ wife, “Webster” co-star Susan Clark, disclosed in April that he suffered from dementia.
Karras was surrounded by family at the time of his death. Details on funeral services were not immediately announced.
(No Ratings Yet)