Karras, the former NFL great, suffered kidney failure in the last two weeks and has been given only a few days to live.
Friends of Alex Karras say the former NFL great suffered kidney failure in the last two weeks and has been given only a few days to live.
Tom McInerney, a Detroit-area car dealer and a friend of Karras' since the 1950s, said Karras' wife, Susan Clark, told him of her husband's failing health in a phone call Monday.
The 77-year-old Karras has suffered from a variety of health problems in recent years, including dementia and cancer, and is part of the mass concussion lawsuit more than 3,000 former players have filed against the NFL.
Catherine Lincoln, general manager of Clark Karras Properties, said Karras was released from Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica over the weekend and is at his California home on hospice care.
LOVED him in "Victor/Victoria" as the gay bodyguard.
They could keep him alive with dialysis 3x / wk, but with dementia and cancer what's the point of the extraordinary measures.
It's about time, too.
I hope he is donating his brain to add more data to the current studies about the long-term effect of traumatic brain injuries.
I remember when George Plimpton introduced us to the fun that was Alex in his book, Paper Lion.
I am very sad how this all turned out.
Poor Ma'am Papadopolis.
November 14, 1977
Alex Karras, Immortalized In 'paper Lion,' Now Tackles Autobiography
The best pages of one of our best sports books involved a beefy pro football player who had a manic gift of gab and a heightened sense of life's absurdities. The book was George, Plimpton's Paper Lion, and the player, need it be said, was Alex Karras. Plimpton brought out the best in Karras and vice versa, with the happy and memorable result that the book contains some of the zaniest tall-tale-telling to be found in print.
Paper Lion made something of a celebrity of Karras, as he quickly and graciously admits; he got to play himself in the successful movie adaption of the book, which in turn led to his less successful stint as the third mouth on Monday Night Football. That, in turn, seems to have led to a book Karras has done with Herb Gluck called Even Big Guys Cry (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, $8.95). There's surprisingly little of the vaunted Karras humor in it (maybe he misses Plimpton more than he realizes), but the book is not without its modest and surprising virtues.
To be perfectly frank, it's a book that I was prepared to dislike; the freshness and rough innocence of Karras' humor seemed to me to have worn away under the pressures of television, and I expected the book to be a collection of stale chuckles. It is not. The occasional laughs it contains are good ones, and as an account of Karras' life it is unexpectedly touching.
With obvious feeling, Karras describes his boyhood in Gary, Ind., where his father worked long hours for little money as the community doctor and Alex and his brothers played sandlot football. He tells about his youthful romances with an appealing wistfulness and considerable candor. He has some tart words for a couple of famous footballers. Forest Evashevski and Otto Graham, whom he encountered as a young man. And he writes about his years with the Detroit Lions with affection.
On the subject of his suspension from pro football for alleged associations with gamblers, he makes a fairly convincing case for his innocence. On some other subjects he makes almost no case at all: Monday Night Football gets only a few paragraphs, and his well-publicized marital difficulties of recent years get none.
But most autobiographers keep a few cats in the bag, so that's no real surprise. What is a surprise is that Even Big Guys Cry gives the reader a genuine, and favorable, feeling for the kind of person its author is.
Was he married to Susan Harris, creator of Golden Girls and Soap?
Friend of the gays when it wasn't cool to be. He will be missed.
He sure will be, r18. Karras was a man secure enough in himself that he didn't have to hatin'. RIP.
RIP hot 80s daddy!
Your "friend" was wrong, OP.
He was like a father to me.
Growth-stunted black child with kidney problems
How we'll remember Alex Karras
10:56 AM, October 10, 2012 |
By Tom Panzenhagen
Detroit Free Press Sports Writer
• Drafted out of Iowa in 1958, the defensive tackle was listed at 6-feet-2 and 248 pounds, small by today’s standards (Ndamukong Suh is 6-4, 307) – and he wore glasses.
• First- or second-team all-pro every year during the 1960s, except for one.
• 1963: Suspended, along with Green Bay running back Paul Hornung, for one season for gambling on NFL games. (Hornung elected to Hall of Fame in 1986; Karras hasn’t been.)
• Missed one game in 12 pro seasons, ending in 1970.
• Lost his last Lions game by the oddest of scores, 5-0, to Dallas in the first round of the ’70 playoffs.
• Reported to training camp in 1971 but was released by his old pal and then-Lions coach Joe Schmidt; playing career over at age 35
• Took up professional wrestling before he signed with the Lions and returned to it when suspended for the 1963 season. Memorable bouts included ones with Dick the Bruiser.
• Part owner of the Lindell AC, a sports bar in downtown Detroit.
• In 1968, he and teammates played themselves in “Paper Lion,” the movie version of George Plimpton’s book in which Plimpton tried out with the Lions.
• Starting in 1970, displayed a dry sense of humor and gained notoriety during repeat appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”
• Played Mongo in Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles” in 1974.
• Color commentator on “Monday Night Football,” 1974-76.
• Played George Zaharias opposite Susan Clark in the TV movie “Babe” (1975), the story of Babe Didrickson.
• Karras and Clark married in 1980.
• Starred in the TV sitcom “Webster” with Clark and Emmanuel Lewis, 1983-89.
• Hosted “Saturday Night Live” in 1985.
• Returned to Detroit in 2003 for the 40th anniversary of the publication of “Paper Lion,” appearing with, among others, Plimpton, Schmidt, Lem Barney, Ron Kramer, Mike Lucci and Earl Morrall. But the loudest cheers at Ford Field were for the famed Fearsome Foursome defensive line of Karras, Roger Brown, Darris McCord and Sam Williams.
Didn't he do The White Guy Rap when he hosted SNL?
r29, that was Jim Belushi.
Looked it up. Karras and Belushi did the White Guy Rap together.
Interesting that the Free Press obit left out Victor/Victoria.
r3's joke is so lame!!!
[quote]Do you guys remember the episode of "Webster" where Webster sets fire to the family home? Alex doesn't.
He "remembered" Webster was a puppet and last time Lewis came for a visit, Alex tried to shove his hand up Emmanuel's ass.
We're white guys, and we take no crap
When we deliver our white guy rap!
You never even said he was on the roof!
RIP big guy.
Emmanuel Lewis described the couple as "cold" when asked what his relationship with the Karras' was like on the set.
R28, maybe there was a good reason for that, eh? Certainly there were rumors.
Rumors about what, r39?
Good golly, R40, I'm so flabbergasted by your question that I'm using phrases like "good golly." I was addressing R28, who posted as follows:
[quote]Susan Clark looked like such an 80s dyke.
What else could I possibly have meant?
The rumors on the "Webster" set had to do with Clark. Everyone hated her and she seemed bipolar. Little wonder she doesn't work anymore. A screamer.