By Shiryn Ghermezian, EnStarz | Oct 10, 2012 01:26 PM EDT
Alex Karras was a Detriot Lions defensive lineman but many fans remember him for his acting, with roles in sitcoms and movies alike.
Following his retirement from football in 1970 at the age of 35, he played Mongo in the 1974 Mel Brooks movie "Blazing Saddles" and family man George Papadapolis on the ABC series "Webster." His wife, Susan Clark, also played his wife on "Webster." He also starred in the film adaptation of "Paper Lions," among many of his other works, and in "Saddles," he created the famous line, " "Don't know..." (looking straight into the camera) "...Mongo only pawn in game of life."
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Karras died on Wednesday, Oct. 10, from a recent kidney failure. He died at home in Los Angeles surrounded by family members, said Craig Mitnick, Karras' attorney. Since the kidney failure, his condition was said to have deteriorated and yesterday, it was reported that he was expected to last only a few days.
Karras had also been suffering from dementia and was one of the many former NFL players to sue the league for treatment from the head injuries he obtained while on the football field.
His wife Susan previously stated to Fox News that her husband was no longer able to drive or recall some of his favorite recipes.
"This physical beating that he took as a football player has impacted his life, and therefore it has impacted his family life. He is interested in making the game of football safer and hoping that other families of retired players will have a healthier and happier retirement," she said.
When Karras' health worsened, Detroit Lions president Tow Lewand addressed the star's unfortunate health status in a statement released by the team, saying the following:
"The entire Detroit Lions family is deeply saddened to learn of the news regarding the condition of one of our all-time greats, Alex Karras. Perhaps no player in Lions history attained as much success and notoriety for what he did after his playing days as did Alex. We join his legions of fans from both sports and entertainment in prayer and support for Alex, his wife Susan, and his entire family during this most difficult time."
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