Alex Karras, star of TV's 'Webster' and NFL, dies at age 77
Alex Karras, an NFL star-turned-TV actor in the '80s, died Wednesday in Los Angeles, CNN reports. He was 77
"After a heroic fight with kidney disease, heart disease, dementia and for the last two years, stomach cancer," Karras died at his home, surrounded by family, the spokesman told CNN.
The former Detroit Lions defensive lineman first made his name in acting when he played "Mongo" in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles. Beginning in 1983, he starred with Susan Clark (his wife in real life and on TV) and Emmanuel Lewis in Webster. Mirroring the hit show Diff'rent Strokes, Webster followed the life of a African-American boy who is adopted by a white family. The show ran on network TV until 1987 and continued on first-run syndication until 1989.
Among Karras' other '80 movie work are roles in Against All Odds, Porky's, Victor Victoria and Nobody's Perfect.
"Perhaps no player in Lions history attained as much success and notoriety for what he did after his playing days as did Alex," Lions president Tom Lewand said.