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Alex Karras

Died today. R.I.P.

I met him once, when I was a kid. Probably same year he did Blazin' Saddles. He was involved with a special Harlem Globetrotters show at the Capitol Centre outside D.C. At the end of the game I was able to get onto the basketball court area itself (lots of kids wandering around) and I said hello to him. I think I got his autograph. He was speaking with an ABC Wide World of Sports announcer whose name I forget, and the ABC guy had evidently been holding Karras' wallet for him all during the game. This wallet had to have been 4 inches thick with bills, probably thousands of dollars. I'll never forget it. Karras just took the wallet and put it in his pocket and thanked the ABC guy and they shook hands and Alex said something like "thanks man, see you again next week!" and that was that. For a kid, this was a moment of awe. Here was a real NFL star *and* a movie star, who'd just played against the Harlem Globetrotters, who I worshipped (who can forget the one and only Meadowlark Lemon?) and out of nowhere there's Karras' wallet and I'm thinkin', wow, he has to be a millionaire.

I was not worthy.

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