50 Facts About Alex Karras


Alexander George Karras was an American football player, professional wrestler, sportscaster, and actor.


Alex Karras was a four-time Pro Bowl player with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League, where he played from 1958 to 1970.


Alex Karras starred as George Papadopolis, the adoptive father of Webster Long, in the ABC sitcom Webster alongside his wife Susan Clark.


Alex Karras is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the Centennial class.


George Karras opened a medical practice in Gary, but he died when Alex was thirteen years old.


Alex Karras excelled in numerous other sports in high school, including baseball, track, wrestling, and basketball.


Alex Karras struggled in the beginning at Iowa, with classwork, homesickness, and with his coach, Forest Evashevski.

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Alex Karras was a pledge at Sigma Nu fraternity during his first year in school.


Alex Karras did not earn a football letter for the 1955 season.


Alex Karras went to summer classes, lost the excess weight, and rejoined the football team, but a strained relationship resurfaced.


The Hawkeyes then clinched the Big Ten title and Iowa's first-ever Rose Bowl berth by defeating Ohio State Alex Karras sealed the game with a sack on the game's final play.


Alex Karras did not enjoy his trip to the Rose Bowl, either.


Alex Karras helped the Hawkeyes win the Rose Bowl over Oregon State, He was a first-team All-American in 1956.


Alex Karras spent the summer of 1957 with an American track team of Greek descent.


Alex Karras participated in the shot put, throwing a respectable 52 feet.


Alex Karras was a great football player, but he didn't really like offense and, in those days, you had to go both ways.


Alex Karras was the tenth selection of the 1958 NFL draft, taken by the Detroit Lions.


Alex Karras signed with the Lions, spurning an offer from the Canadian Football League's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.


Alex Karras quickly became one of the dominant defensive tackles in the NFL, playing for 12 seasons all with the Lions.


Alex Karras himself admitted he was frequently heavily hung over as a result of late night bar-hopping.


Layne was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers early in the 1958 season and Alex Karras eventually assumed a veteran leadership position himself.


Alex Karras was reinstated, along with Hornung, on March 16,1964, by NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle.


On June 4,1967, Alex Karras hinted he would retire to work at a new business venture; once training camp began, though, Alex Karras was back with the Lions.


When it actually happened, Alex Karras backtracked and flew home on the team plane.


Alex Karras was still an All-Pro selection from 1967 to 1969.

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Alex Karras was called an "iron man" and nicknamed "Twinkletoes" by his fans, and missed only one game due to injury in his 12 NFL seasons and his 161 games played are the fifteenth-most in Lions history.


Alex Karras made the Pro Bowl four times, and the Hall of Fame named him a member of the 1960s All-Decade team.


On January 15,2020, Alex Karras was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as a Centennial Member.


Alex Karras himself was under suspension and thus absent during Plimpton's training camp tenure with the Lions, making him a constant topic of tall-tale discussion among his past teammates.


Alex Karras soon began acting on a full-time basis, playing a Tennessee boy turned Olympic weightlifter named Hugh Ray Feather in 1973's The 500 Pound Jerk.


Alex Karras played a hulking villain who menaced Clint Walker in the ABC TV film Hardcase.


Alex Karras served three years in that role until leaving after the 1976 season, with his most memorable comment coming in his first game, when he joked that bald Oakland Raiders lineman Otis Sistrunk, who never attended college, was from "the University of Mars", after seeing steam coming off his head.


In 1972, Karras hosted a local weekly football program for Windsor, Ontario CBC affiliate CKLW-TV, The Alex Karras Football Show; his program generally preceded the CBC's Wednesday night CFL telecasts.


In 1973, Alex Karras made several cameo appearances on the January 8 broadcast of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.


Alex Karras returned to acting with roles that included playing Sheriff Wallace in Porky's, and as western settler Hans Brumbaugh in Centennial.


Alex Karras played a darker role as Hank Sully, the right-hand man of villain Jake Wise in the 1984 film, Against All Odds.


Alex Karras signed on to play the character "Super Jock" in commercials for a line of sports action toys named Super Jock, produced by Schaper.


Alex Karras was known for his humorous endorsement of La-Z-Boy recliners, in an ad campaign which featured NFL greats such as Miami Dolphins Coach Don Shula, and New York Jets legend Joe Namath.


Alex Karras subsequently wrote a memoir, Even Big Guys Cry, and a novel, Tuesday Night Football.


Alex Karras was voted to the team as a defensive lineman.


Alex Karras was elected to the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in 1977 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991.


Alex Karras was joined in the honor by Nile Kinnick, Chuck Long, and Tim Dwight.


On January 15,2020, the NFL announced that Alex Karras had been selected for enshrinement in Canton.


Alex Karras worked briefly as a football coach in 2007 and 2008.


Alex Karras worked for the SIL as an assistant coach to Bob Lombardi.

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Alex Karras owned an ice cream parlor in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, called The Cow.


Alex Karras married actress Susan Clark on March 21,1980, and they had a daughter together.


Alex Karras was among 3,500 former NFL players who filed lawsuits against the NFL in early 2012, over the long-term damage caused by concussions and repeated hits to the head.


On October 8,2012, it was revealed by friend Tom McInerney that Alex Karras had been diagnosed with kidney failure.


Alex Karras was treated at the Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, before being released into hospice care.