Alex Karras, the rugged lineman who anchored the Detroit Lions’ defense in the 1960s, then went on to an acting career in which he starred in the sitcom “Webster” and famously punched a horse in the 1974 comedy “Blazing Saddles,” died Wednesday. He was 77.
Karras, who had recently suffered kidney failure, died at home in Los Angeles surrounded by family members, said Craig Mitnick, Karras’ attorney.
Diagnosed with dementia, Karras in April joined the more than 3,500 former NFL players suing the league for not protecting them better from head injuries, immediately becoming one of the best-known names in the legal fight.
Detroit drafted Karras with the 10th overall pick in 1958 out of Iowa and he was a four-time All-Pro defensive tackle over 12 seasons with the franchise.