Alex Karras

Alexander George Karras (July 15, 1935 – October 10, 2012) was an American football player, professional wrestler, sportscaster, and actor.[1] He was a four-time Pro Bowl player with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL), where he played from 1958 to 1970. As an actor, Karras is noted for his role as Mongo in the 1974 comedy film Blazing Saddles. He was also known for starring as Webster Long's (Emmanuel Lewis) adoptive father, George Papadopolis, in the ABC sitcom Webster (1983–1989) alongside his wife Susan Clark. He was also featured prominently in Victor/Victoria, starring Julie Andrews and James Garner. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Alex Karras
refer to caption
Susan Clark and Karras in Babe (1975).
No. 71
Position:Defensive tackle
Personal information
Born:July 15, 1935
Gary, Indiana
Died:October 10, 2012 (aged 77)
Los Angeles, California
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:248 lb (112 kg)
Career information
High school:Gary (IN) Emerson
College:Iowa
NFL Draft:1958 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:161
Interceptions:4
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Early life

Born and raised in Gary, Indiana,[1] Karras was the son of Dr. George Karras, a Greek immigrant (from Chios) who graduated from the University of Chicago and got his medical degree in Canada. There, George Karras met and married a Canadian woman, Alex's mother, Emmeline (née Wilson), a registered nurse.[2][3] George Karras opened a medical practice in Gary, but he died when Alex was thirteen years old. By that time, Alex Karras had learned to play football in a parking lot near his home, and he blossomed into a four-time Indiana all-state selection at Gary's Emerson High School.

College career

Alex Karras (1958)
Karras from 1958 Hawkeye

His older brothers, Lou (a future member of the Redskins) and Ted (who later played with the Bears and Lions), had played at Purdue but later Ted transferred to Indiana. Because of this, Alex said, "Indiana had the inside track" on recruiting him. Shortly after he graduated from high school, three coaches from the Iowa Hawkeyes met Karras at his brother Louie's house with an airplane and flew him to Spencer, Iowa, where he remained incommunicado through the summer. Writing in the Detroit Free Press in 1971 (as reprinted in the Iowa City Press-Citizen), Karras said that "nobody knew where I was, not even my mom, although Louie told her not to worry. . . . Obviously, Iowa came up with something, I have no intention of stirring up any mess. I'll only say that, as Louie explained it, some accommodations were made by the people at Iowa that would make things easier for the family, and so away I went. It was the beginning of some awful years."[4]

Karras struggled in the beginning at Iowa, with classwork, homesickness and with his coach, Forest Evashevski. He was a pledge at Sigma Nu fraternity during his first year in school. Karras probably would have left Iowa had he not befriended a Greek theater owner, Ernie Pannos, as well as fellow players Cal Jones and Bob Commings. Karras' sophomore year with Iowa in 1955 got off to a rocky start when he showed up for practice twenty pounds (9 kg) overweight. Karras was also hampered that season by a cracked ankle bone. After being disappointed at not getting to play in the season finale, Karras threw a shoe at Evashevski and quit the team. Karras did not earn a football letter for the 1955 season.

Karras went to summer classes and later rejoined the football team, but a strained relationship resurfaced. Evashevski promised to start Alex Karras in the 1956 season opener against Indiana, when Alex would square off against his brother, Ted. But Evy played Karras off the bench instead, and Karras quit the team again. This time, Karras agreed to rejoin the team only after making Evashevski promise he would not talk to him other than in a purely coaching capacity. (Evashevski always denied any special agreement with Karras.) Iowa took the lead in the 1956 Big Ten title race with a 7–0 victory over Minnesota. The Hawkeyes then clinched the Big Ten title and Iowa's first ever Rose Bowl berth by defeating Ohio State, 6–0. Karras sealed the game with a quarterback sack on the game's final play.[5]

Iowa's final regular season game in 1956 was 48–8 win at home over a struggling Notre Dame team. Karras called it his biggest college win, saying, "The Karrases have always had a rivalry with Notre Dame. The school was just sixty miles (97 km) down the road from our home and we wanted to beat 'em at anything."[6] However, after the game, Karras got into a physical battle with Evashevski. Karras did not enjoy his trip to the Rose Bowl, either. "Pasadena was the most boring town I've ever been in," said Karras. Karras helped the Hawkeyes win the Rose Bowl over Oregon State, 35–19. He was a first team All-American in 1956

Karras spent the summer of 1957 with an American track team of Greek descent. He participated in the shot put, throwing a respectable 52 feet (16 m). In his senior season in 1957, Karras was the most dominant lineman in the nation, won the Outland Trophy, and was the runner-up in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. Karras and Ohio State tackle John Hicks (in 1973) are two of only three linemen ever finishing so high in the Heisman Trophy voting. (Leon Hart, a Notre Dame end, was the only lineman ever to win the Heisman Trophy in 1949.) In addition, Karras was a consensus first team All-American in 1957. Hawkeye teammate Randy Duncan said,

Karras hated Evashevski, and he still does. I think Karras hated Evy for a lot of reasons. Evy was on everybody's back, and he was on Karras' back big time. Karras was a great football player, but he didn't really like offense and, in those days, you had to go both ways. So he didn't block anybody. What he wanted to do was chase down quarterbacks and play defense.[7]

Professional football

Before his NFL career got under way, Karras signed a contract as a professional wrestler on December 13, 1957, earning $25,000 during the six-month off-season. Karras was the tenth selection of the 1958 NFL draft, taken by the Detroit Lions (in December 1957). He signed with the Lions, spurning an offer from the Canadian Football League's Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He quickly became one of the dominant defensive tackles in the NFL, playing for 12 seasons (1958–1962, 1964–1970) with the same team.

On January 7, 1963, Karras's ownership in Detroit's Lindell AC Bar became a source of controversy when league officials urged him to sell his financial interests in the place because of reports of gambling and organized crime influence. After first threatening to retire rather than give it up, Karras admitted placing bets on NFL games and was suspended by the league, along with Green Bay Packers' running back Paul Hornung, for one season (1963). During his exile, Karras returned to pro wrestling, taking on such memorable characters as Dick the Bruiser. He was reinstated, along with Hornung, on March 16, 1964 by NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle. Upon returning to action in 1964, Karras once refused when an official asked him to call the pregame coin toss. "I'm sorry, sir," Karras replied. "I'm not permitted to gamble."[8] During his first year back, player discontent with head coach George Wilson resulted in Karras asking to be traded. However, the Lions settled the issue when they fired Wilson after the 1964 NFL season.

From 1960 to 1966, except for the year of his suspension in 1963, he played next to Roger Brown, forming a formidable pair of defensive tackles, until the latter was traded to the Los Angeles Rams. After another season of controversy under new head coach Harry Gilmer, Karras was rumored to be ready to play out his option and sign with the expansion Miami Dolphins of the American Football League under his former coach Wilson. Instead, Karras signed a seven-year contract with the Lions on May 20, 1966, with Wilson stating that Karras had used the threat of signing with Miami to garner the large deal with Detroit. Despite the new contract, controversy remained, as Karras and Gilmer sparred in midseason, with the coach reportedly ready to release the veteran defensive tackle. As before, it would be the coach who would depart, with Karras's former teammate Joe Schmidt taking over. On June 4, 1967, Karras once again hinted he would retire to work at a new business venture; once training camp began, though, Karras was back with the Lions. During that preseason, he jokingly commented that he would walk back from Denver if the AFL Broncos defeated the Lions. When that actually happened, Karras backtracked and flew home on the team plane. He was still an All-Pro selection in 1967 to 1969. Despite not allowing a touchdown in the divisional round of the 1970 NFL playoffs, the Lions lost to the Dallas Cowboys 5–0, his first playoff game and his final game. After the 1971 preseason, while rehabilitating a knee injury suffered the previous year, Karras was released, ending his playing career at age 35.

From 1958 to 1970, the Lions were over .500 six of the 13 years, making the playoffs only once, 1970, with a 10–4 record in Karras' final year. Aside from 1970, their best years were 1962 (11–3) and 1969 (9–4–1). In 1962, the Lion defense allowed 177 points (12.6 points/game), 188 (13.4 ppg) in 1969, and 202 (14.4 ppg) in 1970; for all three years they were second-least in the NFL, thanks in large part to a tough and rugged defensive line led by Karras. He was called an "iron man", 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. He made the Pro Bowl four times, and the Hall of Fame named him a member of the 1960s All-Decade team.[9] The Professional Football Researchers Association named Karras to the PRFA Hall of Very Good Class of 2006 [10]

Film and television

While with the Lions, Karras acquired a reputation as a zany storyteller who would improvise tales about past lives to amuse fellow players. Karras' oddball sense of humor came to the attention of writer George Plimpton who heard many Karras stories while training with the Lions for his book Paper Lion. When the film version of the book was made in 1968, Karras made his film debut playing himself.[11] As in Plimpton's book, Karras delights his teammates with impromptu monologues about a fanciful past, including his marriage to Hitler. Onscreen, Karras is also shown as a slave-driving coach in a theatrical sendup. The film led to Karras' appearance on The Tonight Show. On the show, he described smashing and grinding the opponent into a fourth down. "And then the coach calls on some European soccer player. 'Oh Julian! Julian!' And this little guy comes out saying, 'I'm going to kick a touchdown!'"[12]

Following his release by the Lions in 1971, he made several more appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and also played a bit part in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, appearing in the farewell party scene where Rhoda moves back to New York (1972). 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. He played a hulking villain who menaced Clint Walker in the ABC TV film Hardcase. A minor but memorable role came one year later in the western parody Blazing Saddles (1974): the very strong and slow-witted thug Mongo, who rode into town on a huge brahman (marked with "yes" and "no" passing signals), knocked out a horse with one punch, and famously responded to a question from Sheriff Bart with, "Don't know ..." (looking straight into the camera) "... Mongo only pawn in game of life." In 1974 he also played the part of Lyle. A marine saved by Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H. That same year, he was quickly brought in by ABC in September to replace Fred Williamson as a commentator for the network's Monday Night Football.[1] He 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".[13]

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

Karras returned to acting with roles that included playing Sheriff Wallace in Porky's (in which his wife, Susan Clark, also starred), and as western settler Hans Brumbaugh in Centennial. He played James Garner's closeted gay bodyguard in the 1982 Blake Edwards' film Victor Victoria. Karras played a darker role as Hank Sully, the right-hand-man of villain Jake Wise (played by James Woods) in the 1984 film, Against All Odds. Karras' most memorable role was in the 1975 made-for-TV movie Babe, where he played the hulking ex-wrestler George Zaharias, loyally caring for his cancer-stricken wife, the legendary athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

In 1975, Karras appeared on MNF colleague Howard Cosell's ill-fated variety show Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell wearing a wig (a la Mongo) and performing "Already Gone" on the beach with The Eagles who were dubbed the "Alex Karras Blues Band" due to tee-shirts the band members wore bearing that moniker.

Karras' television appearances included guest roles on Daniel Boone in the episode "The Cache", M*A*S*H in the episode "Springtime", The Odd Couple and a brief run on Match Game '75. He also signed on to play the character "Super Jock" in commercials for a line of sports action toys named Super Jock, produced by Schaper (1975).[15] In 1977, he was cast in the lead of the TV movie Mad Bull.[16]

In 1979, he had the role of Hans "Potato" Brumbaugh, a potato farmer, on the TV miniseries Centennial. He was known for his humorous endorsement of La-Z-Boy recliners, in an ad campaign which also featured NFL greats such as Miami Dolphins Coach Don Shula, and New York Jets legend Joe Namath.[17] In the 1980s, Karras had memorable success in the TV sitcom Webster, playing George Papadapolis, the title character's adoptive father, in a role that showcased his softer side. His real-life wife, Susan Clark, played his fictional wife in the series; Karras and Clark produced the series through their Georgian Bay Entertainment production company. The two met in 1975 while filming the made-for-television biopic Babe for CBS.

Writing

Besides being one of the subjects of George Plimpton's nonfiction book Paper Lion (published in 1966), he was one of the two principal subjects of Plimpton's follow-up book, Mad Ducks and Bears (1973) (fellow Detroit Lion John Gordy was the "bear" to Karras' "mad duck"). Karras named one of his sons after Plimpton. During his last years as a Detroit Lion, Karras wrote a journal of his experiences that was published in the Detroit Free Press. He subsequently wrote a memoir, Even Big Guys Cry (1978), and a novel, Tuesday Night Football (1991).

Honors

In conjunction with the 100 Years of Hawkeye Football celebration in 1989, Iowa Hawkeye fans selected an all-time team. The squad featured 11 players on offense and defense, two kickers, and 15 special-mention players who received strong fan support. Alex Karras was voted to the team as a defensive lineman. Karras was elected to the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in 1977 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991.

On December 12, 2014 the Big Ten Network included Karras on "The Mount Rushmore of Iowa Football", as chosen by online fan voting. Karras was joined in the honor by Nile Kinnick, Chuck Long and Tim Dwight.

On October 28, 2018 the Detroit Lions enshrined Karras in the franchise ring of honor along with former Detroit Lions Herman Moore and Roger Brown.[18]

Later activities

Karras also worked briefly as a football coach in 2007 and 2008. He worked for the SIL as an assistant coach to Bob Lombardi. He owned an ice cream parlor in Surfside Beach, South Carolina called The Cow.[19]

Personal life

Karras was married twice. In 1958, he married Joan Jurgensen, with whom he had five children. The marriage ended in divorce in 1975. He married actress Susan Clark on March 21, 1980, and they had a daughter together.[20][21]

Illness and death

In his later years, Karras suffered several serious health problems, including dementia, heart disease, and cancer.[22]

Karras was among 3,500 former NFL players to have filed lawsuits against the NFL in early 2012, over the long-term damage caused by concussions and repeated hits to the head.[11][23]

On October 8, 2012, it was revealed by friend Tom McInerney that Karras had been diagnosed with kidney failure. He was treated at the Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, before being released into hospice care. After returning to his Los Angeles home with family, Karras died in the morning hours of October 10.[24]

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1968 Paper Lion Himself
1972 Hardcase Booker Llewellyn
1973 The 500 Pound Jerk Hughie Rae Feather
1974 Blazing Saddles Mongo
1974 The Great Lester Boggs Sheriff Billy Bob
1974 Win, Place or Steal Frank
1975 Babe George Zaharias
1978 FM Doc Holiday
1978 Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang The Hooded Fang
1978 Centennial Hans Brumbaugh TV Mini-Series, 12 episodes
1980 When Time Ran Out Tiny Baker
1981 Nobody's Perfekt Swaboda
1981 Porky's Sheriff Wallace
1982 Victor Victoria 'Squash' Bernstein
1984 Against All Odds Hank Sully
1994 Street Corner Kids Floyd Powell
1998 Buffalo '66 TV Sportscaster

References

  1. ^ a b c Maher, Charles (November 13, 1974). "Smart Alex joins Humble Howard, Faultless Frank". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). (Los Angeles Times). p. 1B.
  2. ^ Weber, Bruce. "Alex Karras, former NFL lineman, father on Webster TV show, dies at 77". The Star. Toronto.
  3. ^ "Alex Karras Biography (1935-)". www.filmreference.com.
  4. ^ Karras, Alex (November 17, 1971). "Alex Karras Tells How and Why He Arrived at Iowa". Iowa City Press-Citizen.
  5. ^ Mason City Globe-Gazette. November 19, 1956. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Karras' Register Hall of Fame biodata". Des Moines Register. October 10, 2012. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  7. ^ Maly, Ron (2003). Tales from the Iowa Sidelines. p. 125. ISBN 1582615748.
  8. ^ Merron, Jeff. "Top 10 suspensions of all-time". ESPN. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  9. ^ "Longtime Lion, actor Karras dies at 77".
  10. ^ "Hall of Very Good Class of 2006". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Weber, Bruce (October 10, 2012). "Alex Karras, N.F.L. Lineman and Actor, Dies at 77" – via NYTimes.com.
  12. ^ "Football's Madcap Mad Duck". The Attic. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  13. ^ "Oakland Raiders - Otis Sistrunk". Oakland Raiders. Archived from the original on November 17, 2008.
  14. ^ Per the July 29, August 4, 1972 TV Guide ad at Vintage Toledo TV: CKLW & CBET-TV 9 Print ads Archived July 27, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Super Jock Toys". Plaidstallions.blogspot.com. May 15, 2009. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  16. ^ "Mad Bull (TV Movie 1977)".
  17. ^ "Our History". La-z-boy.com. Archived from the original on November 18, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  18. ^ https://www.freep.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2018/08/30/detroit-lions-ring-honor-herman-moore-alex-karras/1150396002/
  19. ^ "Blazing Saddles Tribute Mongo". blazingsaddlestribute.com. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  20. ^ "Alex Karras' Daughter Katie Karras". Showbizdaily. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  21. ^ Birkett, Dave (October 8, 2012). "Lions great Alex Karras near death". USA Today.
  22. ^ Birkett, Dave (October 8, 2012). "Ex-Lions great Alex Karras suffering from kidney failure". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  23. ^ "Reports: Karras has kidney failure". ESPN. Associated Press. October 9, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  24. ^ "Ex-NFL star, actor Alex Karras dies". CNN. October 10, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  • Tales From The Iowa Sidelines, by Ron Maly (ISBN 1-58261-574-8)
  • Greatest Moments In Iowa Hawkeyes Football History, by Mark Dukes & Gus Schrader (ISBN 1-57243-261-6)
  • Evy and the Hawkeyes, by Brian Chapman and Mike Chapman (ISBN 0-88011-186-0)

External links

1956 Iowa Hawkeyes football team

The 1956 Iowa Hawkeyes football team was an American football team that represented the University of Iowa in the 1956 Big Ten Conference football season. The Hawkeyes were champions of the Big Ten Conference and beat the Oregon State Beavers in the 1957 Rose Bowl, a rematch of a regular season game.

The team's statistical leaders included quarterback Ken Ploen with 386 passing yards, Ploen with 487 rushing yards, Ploen with 873 total yards, and Jim Gibbons with 255 receiving yards. Tackle Alex Karras was selected as a first-team All-American.

1957 Big Ten Conference football season

The 1957 Big Ten Conference football season was the 62nd season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference) and was a part of the 1957 NCAA University Division football season.

The 1957 Ohio State Buckeyes football team, under head coach Woody Hayes, won the conference championship with a 7-0 conference record (9–1 record overall), was ranked No. 1 in the final Coaches' Poll, and defeated Oregon in the 1958 Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes were ranked No.2 in the final AP Poll, but were also declared national champion by the FWAA poll. Ohio State back Don Clark led the conference with 737 rushing yards. Guard Aurealius Thomas was a first-team All-American.

The 1957 Michigan State Spartans football team, under head coach Duffy Daugherty, compiled an 8–1 record and was ranked No. 3 in the final AP and UPI polls. Michigan State back Walt Kowalczyk and center Dan Currie were selected as consensus first-team All-Americans. Kowalczyk led the conference with 54 points scored, and Currie was selected as the team's most valuable player.

The 1957 Iowa Hawkeyes football team, under head coach Forest Evashevski, finished third in the Big Ten with a 7–1–1 record and was ranked No. 8 in the final AP Poll. Iowa tackle Alex Karras was a consensus first-team All-American and won the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in college football. Quarterback Randy Duncan led the Big Ten with 1,124 passing yards and 1,183 total yards.

Michigan halfback Jim Pace won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy as the conference's most valuable player.

1963 Detroit Lions season

The 1963 Detroit Lions season was their 30th season in Detroit and their 34th season overall. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle indefinitely suspended Lions Defensive Tackle Alex Karras along with Packers Halfback Paul Hornung for placing bets on NFL teams. Five other Lions players were fined $2000 each for betting on games that they did not play in. The Lions franchise was fined $2000 each on two counts for failure to report information promptly and for lack of sideline supervision. The gambling controversy proved to be a big distraction on the field as well, as the Lions could not build on the success of the previous season, finishing 5–8–1.

1963 NFL season

The 1963 NFL season was the 44th regular season of the National Football League. On April 17, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle indefinitely suspended Green Bay Packers running back Paul Hornung and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras for gambling on their own teams, as well as other NFL games; Hornung and Karras would miss the entire season. In addition, five other Detroit players were fined $2,000 each for placing bets on one game in which they did not participate.

The season ended with the Chicago Bears defeating the New York Giants at Wrigley Field in the NFL Championship Game.

1964 NFL season

The 1964 NFL season was the 45th regular season of the National Football League. Before the season started, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle reinstated Green Bay Packers running back Paul Hornung and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras, who had been suspended for the 1963 season due to gambling.

Beginning this season, the home team in each game was allowed the option of wearing their white jerseys. Since 1957, league rules had mandated that the visiting team wear white and the home team wear colored jerseys. The NFL also increased the regular season roster limit from 37 to 40 active players, which would remain unchanged for a decade.

The season ended when the Cleveland Browns shut out the Baltimore Colts 27–0 in the NFL Championship Game.

Against All Odds (1984 film)

Against All Odds is a 1984 American romantic neo-noir thriller film. A remake of Out of the Past (1947), the film that currently holds a "Fresh" score of 67% on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Against All Odds was directed by Taylor Hackford and stars Rachel Ward, Jeff Bridges and James Woods alongside Jane Greer (who had starred in Out of the Past), Alex Karras, Richard Widmark and Dorian Harewood. The film revolves around an aging American football star who is hired by a mobster to find his girlfriend.

The film's soundtrack, nominated for a Grammy Award, featured songs from Big Country, Kid Creole & the Coconuts, Stevie Nicks and Genesis breakout stars Mike Rutherford, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins; the latter performed the title song, which was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Original Song and for a Golden Globe Award as Best Original Song, being one of the top-selling singles of 1984.

FM (film)

FM is a 1978 film directed by John A. Alonzo and starring Michael Brandon, Eileen Brennan, Alex Karras, Cleavon Little, Martin Mull, and Cassie Yates. The screenplay was written by Ezra Sacks.

This film was produced by Universal Pictures and originally released to theaters in the spring of 1978.

Fearsome Foursome (American football)

The Fearsome Foursome was the dominating defensive line of the Los Angeles Rams of the 1960s and 1970s. Before them, the term had occasionally been applied to other defensive lines in the National Football League.

Good Heavens

Good Heavens is an ABC comedy anthology series produced by Columbia Pictures Television that aired between February 29 and June 26, 1976. It ranked #17 in the Nielsen ratings during the 1975-76 television season.The main character was Mr. Angel (Carl Reiner), an emissary of heaven who came down to Earth to grant wishes to those who had performed a good deed. Episodes featured actors such as Don Ameche, Susan Dey, Sandy Duncan, Pat Harrington Jr., Florence Henderson, Alex Karras, Penny Marshall, Hugh O'Brian, Loretta Swit, Brenda Vaccaro, and Fred Willard.

Karras

Karras or Karas (Greek: Καρράς) is a Greek surname. The female version of the name is Karra. It may refer, among others, to one of the following people:

Alex Karras (1935–2012), Greek-American football player, professional wrestler, and actor

George Karras, American football coach

Ioannis Karras, Greek football personality

Johnny Karras (1928-2008), American football player

Kostas Karras (1936–2012), Greek actor and politician

Lou Karras (born 1927), American football player

Nolan Karras (born 1944), American politician

Ruth Karras, medieval historian

Ted Karras (born 1964), American football player

Theodore Karras (born 1934), American football player

Vasilis Karras (born 1953), Greek singer

List of Iowa Hawkeyes football honorees

The Iowa Hawkeyes football team was founded in 1889 to represent the University of Iowa in intercollegiate competition, and it has participated in the sport every season since. Over the course of the team's history, individual Hawkeye players of exceptional ability have received many accolades.

Iowa has had several players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame, Canadian Football Hall of Fame, and Iowa Sports Hall of Fame. Individual Hawkeyes have won many prestigious national awards, including the Outland Trophy, the Davey O'Brien Award, the Doak Walker Award, the Jim Thorpe Award, and the Heisman Trophy. 92 Hawkeyes have been named a first-team or second-team All-American, and 27 have been named consensus first-team All-Americans.

The Iowa Hawkeyes have had ten players win the Big Ten Most Valuable Player Award, and 219 Hawks have earned All-Big Ten recognition. Iowa has had 244 NFL draft picks, and several former Hawkeye players have gone on to become NFL head coaches or Division I college head coaches.

Lou Karras

Louis George Karras (September 19, 1927 – September 20, 2018) was an American football defensive tackle in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins, until an eye injury prematurely ended his career. He played college football at Purdue University. Karras was drafted 32nd in the third round of the 1950 NFL draft. He had two younger brothers, former pro football player Ted Karras and former pro-football player/actor Alex Karras.

Karras had a college career at Purdue; he was a three-year starter (1946, 1948–49), was selected 2nd Team All-Big Ten in 1949. He was named the MVP for Purdue in 1949. Following his college career, he was selected for the 1949 East-West Shrine Game, the 1950 Chicago-based College All-Star Game and the 1950 Hula Bowl. After his professional football career ended, he founded a successful tire business. He was also on the city council of Gary, Indiana.

Paper Lion (film)

Paper Lion is a 1968 sports comedy film starring Alan Alda as writer George Plimpton, based on Plimpton's 1966 nonfiction book of the same name depicting his tryout with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. The film premiered in Detroit on October 2, 1968, and was released nationwide the week of October 14, 1968.

Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced 1984–1985

The following is a list of recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced between October 6, 1984, and April 13, 1985, the tenth season of SNL.

Susan Clark

Susan Clark (born Nora Golding; March 8, 1943) is a Canadian actress, known for her movie roles such as Coogan's Bluff and Colossus: The Forbin Project, and for her role as Katherine Papadopolis on the American television sitcom Webster, on which she appeared with her husband, Alex Karras.

Ted Karras Sr.

Theodore George Karras Sr. (January 31, 1934 – January 26, 2016) was a National Football League (NFL) player. He played for nine seasons with four teams, winning a championship with the Chicago Bears in 1963 as a guard. Karras played college football for Indiana University. His son, Ted Karras Jr., played in the NFL for the Washington Redskins in 1987 and is currently the head football coach at Walsh University. His brothers, Lou Karras and the late Alex Karras, also played in the NFL. His grandson, Ted Karras III, played college football at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and now plays for the New England Patriots.

Victor/Victoria

Victor/Victoria is a 1982 British-American musical comedy film directed by Blake Edwards and starring Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, Lesley Ann Warren, Alex Karras, and John Rhys-Davies. The film was produced by Tony Adams and scored by Henry Mancini, with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, it was adapted in 1995 as a Broadway musical. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won the Academy Award for Best Original Score. It is a remake of the 1933 German film Viktor und Viktoria.

Webster (TV series)

Webster is an American sitcom that aired on ABC from September 16, 1983 to May 8, 1987 and in first-run syndication from September 21, 1987 to March 10, 1989. The series was created by Stu Silver.The show stars Emmanuel Lewis in the title role as a young boy who, after losing his parents, is adopted by his NFL-pro godfather, portrayed by Alex Karras, and his new socialite wife, played by Susan Clark. The focus was largely on how this impulsively married couple had to adjust to their new lives and sudden parenthood, but it was the congenial Webster himself who drove much of the plot. The series was produced by Georgian Bay Ltd., Emmanuel Lewis Entertainment Enterprises, Inc. (1986–1989) and Paramount Television (Network 1983–1987, Domestic 1987–1989).

Like NBC's earlier series Diff'rent Strokes, Webster featured a young African-American boy adopted by a wealthy white family.

Word of Honor (1981 film)

Word of Honor is a 1981 television film co-written by David Ackles and I.C. Rapoport. It first aired on 6 January 1981 starred Karl Malden and featured appearances by a young Ron Silver and the film debut of John Malkovich. It was directed by Mel Damski. This film was produced by Alex Karras and his wife Susan Clark. Karras often makes cameo appearances in films he produces; in this film he appeared as Penniman Butcher (uncredited). Much of this film was shot in Michigan in places such as Plymouth, where the opening beauty-pageant scene was shot. The newsroom shots were filmed at The Daily Tribune offices in Royal Oak and the real-life editors and reporters were used as extras. Residential shots, including the main characters' home, was shot in the Seminole Hills subdivision of Pontiac.

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