Friday, October 12, 2012

Alex Karras, NFL Lineman and Actor, Dies at 77

Known To Us As Mongo:  Alex Karras, the rugged lineman who anchored the Detroit Lions' defense in the 1960s, then went on to an acting career in which he starred in the sitcom "Webster" and famously punched a horse in the 1974 comedy "Blazing Saddles," died Wednesday. He was 77.

The New York Times reports:

Karras, who had recently suffered kidney failure, died at home in Los Angeles surrounded by family members, said Craig Mitnick, Karras' attorney.

Diagnosed with dementia, Karras in April joined the more than 3,500 former NFL players suing the league for not protecting them better from head injuries, immediately becoming one of the best-known names in the legal fight.
Karras played his entire NFL career with the Lions before retiring in 1970 at age 35. He was a first-team All-Pro in 1960, 1961 and 1965, and he made the Pro Bowl four times ... Karras was recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a defensive tackle on the All-Decade Team of the 1960s.
Playing a not-so-bright bruiser in Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles," he not only slugged a horse but also delivered the classic line: "Mongo only pawn in game of life." 
Why does Abq Jew bring this up? Because "Blazing Saddles" was a very Jewish movie.

Abq Jew remembers going to the 950-seat, then-newish Century 21 Theatre in San Jose, California (right next to the Winchester Mystery House) with his parents, of blessed memory. Every seat in the place was taken.

When Mel Brooks (the Yiddish-speaking Indian Chief) shouted "Loz im geyn!" - the three of us were ROFL. The other 947 in the audience - nothing. We were the only ones there who got it. Oy ... that was a long time ago.

Here are a few memories of Mongo. Caution: Salty language!

May the memory of Alex Karras be for a blessing.


Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico! 

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