Alex Karras (Actor) - Webster
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Updated: 7/30/09

Name: Alex Karras

Born: July 15, 1935, Gary, Indiana

Nickname: The Mad Duck

Claim To Fame: Karras starred on the ABC sitcom Webster as the title character's adoptive father. He is also well-known for playing with the Detroit Lions from 1958-1962 and 1964-1970.

Family Life: He was married to Joan Jurgenson from 1958-1975 and they have five children together. He has been married to his Webster co-star Susan Clark since 1980. They have one daughter, Katie.

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Info: Karras signed a contract to be a professional wrestler shortly before he was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the first round. He officially signed with the Lions eight days later, spurning an offer from the Canadian Football League's Winnipeg Blue Bombers. As a professional football player, he was often at the center of controversy, but continued to play until his release in the 1971 preseason.

Before his release from pro-football, Karras had dabbled in acting, playing himself in the film adaptation of George Plimpton's sports book Paper Lion. After his career with the Lions ended, Karras began acting full-time, playing a Tennessee boy turned Olympic weightlifter named Hugh Ray Feather in 1973's The 500-Pound Jerk. He also had a minor but memorable role in the western parody Blazing Saddles as the slow-witted thug Mongo.

In 1972, he was hired by ABC to replace Fred Williamson as a commentator for the network's Monday Night Football. He served three years in that role until leaving after the 1976 NFL season. He then returned to acting with roles in Porky's and Centennial. Other roles were noted in Maid in America, Masada, Arli$$, FM, and Alcatraz.

In the 1980s, Karras had memorable success in the TV sitcom Webster, playing the adoptive father of the title character, in a role that showcased his softer side. His actual wife, Susan Clark, played his fictional wife in the series.

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Trivia: Played football for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes.

Played on the Hawkeyes' 1956 Rose Bowl championship team.

Was suspended from the N.F.L. for a year for gambling on football games.

Was elected to the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in 1977 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991.

Where Are They Now: Karras worked briefly as a football coach in 2007 and 2008. He worked for the SIL as an assistant coach to Bob Lombardi. He recently owned an ice cream parlor in Surfside Beach, SC called The Cow.

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Write To Alex Karras:
Alex Karras
Georgian Bay Productions
13400 Riverside Drive
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423


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