One of the Region's favorite sons has passed away. ABC News is reporting that Gary native, former football great, wrestler and actor, Alex Karras died this morning at his Los Angeles home. Karras had learned to play football in a parking lot near his Gary home and he exploded as a four-time Indiana all-state selection at Gary Emerson High School, according to Wikipedia. After leading the Iowa Hawkeyes to a Big Ten title and the school's first ever Rose Bowl berth, Karras was the 10th pick in the first round of the 1958 NFL Draft going on to a brilliant Defensive Tackle career with the Detroit Lions. According to ABC News, four after playing with the Lions, Karras co-starred as "Mongo" in Mel Brooks 1974 comedy classic "Blazing Saddles." After that he starred in the ABC 80's sitcom "Webster" and was a sports broadcaster on ABC. More recently, according to the network, Karras was among many former NFL players to have filed a lawsuit against the NFL in early 2012, over issues of head injuries during their career causing various ill effects later in their lives, including dementia. After battling kidney disease, heart disease, dementia and stomach cancer, Alex Karras died today at his home surrounded by family. He was 77.
Gary native Alexander George "Alex" Karras as an ABC broadcaster
( photo courtesy of ABC)