Karras was formerly famous for playing football for the Detroit Lions. Although the role was small, it’s one of the films most memorable. Has there ever been a character who had so few scenes but been so memorable? From the campfire scene, to the candygram; who else could make riding a bull look so natural? Every scene Mongo stars in is memorable – from the “you can’t park there” horse scene:
…to his final realization:
Alexander George “Alex” Karras was born on July 15, 1935, in Gary. He was a former football player, professional wrestler, and actor who is best known for playing with the Detroit Lions from 1958–1962 and 1964-1970.
Following his release by the Lions in 1971, he began acting on a full-time basis, playing a Tennessee boy turned Olympic weightlifter named Hugh Ray Feather in 1973′s The 500-Pound Jerk. He played a hulking villain who menaced Clint Walker in the ABC TV film “Hardcase.” His Mongo role came in 1974.
That same year, he was quickly brought in by ABC to replace Fred Williamson as a commentator for the network’s Monday Night Football. He served three years in that role until leaving after the 1976 NFL season, with his most memorable comment coming in his first game, when he joked that bald Oakland Raiders’ lineman Otis Sistrunk, who never attended college, was from “the University of Mars.”
Karras returned to acting with roles that included as the sheriff (Porky’s brother) in Porky’s and as western settler Hans Brumbaugh in Centennial. He again showed a comedic flair playing a closeted homosexual bodyguard named “Squash” in the movie Victor Victoria. Karras played a darker role as Hank Sully, the right-hand-man of villain Jake Wise (played by James Woods) in the 1984 movie Against All Odds starring Jeff Bridges. Other notable acting roles for Alex Karras have included in Maid in America, Masada, Arliss, FM, and Alcatraz.
His television roles included an appearance on M*A*S*H in the episode “Springtime”, The Odd Couple and a brief run on Match Game ’75. He also signed on to play the character “Super Jock” in commercials for a line of sports action toys by that name, produced by Schaper (1975). In 1977 he was cast in the lead of the TV movie Mad Bull.
In the 1980s, Karras had success in the TV sitcom Webster, playing George Papadapolis, the adoptive father of the title character. His actual wife, Susan Clark, played his wife in the series. She also had a role in Porky’s but the two never appeared in the same scenes.
Karras worked as a football coach in 2007 and 2008. He worked for the SIL as an assistant coach to Bob Lombardi. Recently he has owned an ice cream parlor in Surfside Beach, South Carolina called The Cow.
(partial source: Wikipedia)