11 Oct 2012

Former actor and football star Alex Karras dies

2:51 pm on 11 October 2012

US football player turned actor Alex Karras, who played Mongo in Mel Brooks' 1974 comic western Blazing Saddles, has died.

While he made hundreds of tackles on the football field, Karras' most memorable take-down occurred on Blazing Saddles when his character punched out a horse.

Karras' biggest acting success came as a star of the 1980s sitcom [Webster.

Other movie roles included a sheriff in Porky's, a gay bodyguard in Victor/Victoria and the husband of golf star Babe Zaharias in Babe.

His wit made Karras a popular guest on Johnny Carson's Tonight show.

Karras turned to acting after retiring from football, in which he was recognised as one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL, Reuters reports.

Before his NFL career and during his suspension, Karras was also a professional wrestler.

He died on Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 77, and had been suffering from kidney failure, dementia, heart disease and cancer in recent years.