Alex Karras, known best as the TV Dad on Webster, has passed away at age 77 of kidney failure.
Karras has suffered many medical ailments in recent years, including heart disease, stomach cancer, and dementia. He was surrounded by family when he passed this morning at his home in Los Angeles, California.
Before making a name for himself as an actor, Karras was an NFL football star for the Detroit Lions. After playing for the Lions for 12 seasons, he moved onto being a commenter for Monday Night Football before transitioning into an acting career.
Many fans will remember him from the 80s sitcom Webster, in which he played George Papadapolis, the adoptive father of Emmanuel Lewis’s character. His onscreen wife, Susan Clark, also became his wife off-screen and the two started their own production company.
Clark revealed to the AP the agony her husband has suffered from head injuries sustained during his long-running football career. He had to stop driving, couldn’t remember his favorite recipes, and was formally diagnosed with dementia after suffering symptoms for a dozen years.
Karras, along with hundreds of other former players, were in the process of suing the NFL for their health ailments.
Clark told the AP earlier this year, “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.”
For its part, the NFL says it “did not intentionally seek to mislead players and has taken action to better protect players and to advance the science of concussion management and treatment.”
To read more about Karras’s life, view his biography here.
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