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Encyclopedia > Alex Karras
Alex Karras
Position(s):
Defensive Tackle
Jersey #:
N/A
Date of birth: July 15, 1935 (1935-07-15) (age 72)
Place of birth: Flag of the United States Gary, Indiana
Career information
NFL Draft: 1958 / Round: 1/ Pick 10
College: Iowa
Career highlights
Pro Bowls 4
Awards 1957 Outland Trophy
Honors NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
Teams
1958-1962; 1964-1970 Detroit Lions
Stats at DatabaseFootball.com
College Football Hall of Fame

Alexander George Karras (born July 15, 1935 in Gary, Indiana), is a former football player, professional wrestler, and actor who is best known for playing with the National Football League's Detroit Lions from 1958-1962 and 1964-1971. In addition, he starred on the ABC sitcom Webster, alongside real-life wife Susan Clark, as the titular character's adoptive father. A diagram showing typical football positions In American football, each team has 11 players on the field at one time. ... Defensive tackle (DT) is a position on the field in American and Canadian football. ... is the 196th day of the year (197th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar). ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... This article is about the city. ... The NFL Draft (officially the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting[1]) is an annual sports draft in which National Football League (NFL) teams take turns, through seven rounds[2], selecting amateur college American football players and other first-time eligible players. ... The 1958 NFL Draft was held on December 2, 1957 (rounds 1-4) and January 28, 1958 (rounds 5-30). ... This is a list of athletic conferences of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). ... The University of Iowa, also commonly called Iowa or locally UI, is a major coeducational research university located on a 1,900-acre (8 km²) campus in Iowa City, Iowa, US, on the banks of the Iowa River in East Central Iowa. ... In professional American football, the Pro Bowl is the all-star game of the National Football League (NFL). ... Football Writers Association logo The Outland Trophy is awarded to the best United States college football interior lineman. ... // Offense Defense Special teams See also National Football League NFL 1920s All-Decade Team NFL 1930s All-Decade Team NFL 1940s All-Decade Team NFL 1950s All-Decade Team NFL 1970s All-Decade Team NFL 1980s All-Decade Team NFL 1990s All-Decade Team ... City Detroit, Michigan Team colors Honolulu Blue, Silver, and Black Head Coach Rod Marinelli Owner William Clay Ford, Sr. ... is the 196th day of the year (197th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar). ... This article is about the city. ... United States simply as football, is a competitive team sport that is both fast-paced and strategic. ... For other uses, see Actor (disambiguation). ... NFL redirects here. ... City Detroit, Michigan Team colors Honolulu Blue, Silver, and Black Head Coach Rod Marinelli Owner William Clay Ford, Sr. ... See also: 1957 in sports, other events of 1958, 1959 in sports and the list of years in sports. // Auto Racing NASCAR Championship - Lee Petty Indianapolis 500 - Jimmy Bryan USAC Racing - Tony Bettenhausen won the season championship Formula One Championship - Mike Hawthorn of Great Britain February 23 - Cuban rebels kidnap... // World Artistic Gymnastics Championships Mens all-around champion: Yuri Titov, USSR Womens all-around champion: Larissa Latynina, USSR Team competition champions: mens - Japan; womens - USSR Seventh European Championships, held from September 12 to September 16 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia August 29 — Asian Games Marathon, Jakarta, Indonesia Men... See also: 1963 in sports, other events of 1964, 1965 in sports and the list of years in sports. // Athletics March 6 – Tom OHara sets a new world record for the indoor mile run by completing it in 3 hours, 56. ... See also: 1970 in sports, other events of 1971, 1972 in sports and the list of years in sports. // Auto Racing Stock car racing: Richard Petty won the Daytona 500 NASCAR Championship - Richard Petty Indianapolis 500 - Al Unser, Sr. ... This article is about the American broadcast network. ... This article is about a genre of comedy. ... Webster was a sitcom produced by Paramount Television which premiered on ABC on September 16, 1983, and ran on that network until September 11, 1987, but continued in first-run syndication until 1989. ... Susan Clark (born March 8, 1940 in Sarnia, Ontario) is a Canadian actor, best known as Katherine Papadapolis in the TV sitcom Webster. ...

Contents

College career

Alex Karras is the son of Dr. George Karras, a Greek immigrant who graduated from Chicago and got his medical degree in Canada. There, George Karras met and married a Canadian woman, Alex's mother. George Karras opened a medical practice in Gary, Indiana, but he died when Alex was 13 years old. By that time, Alex Karras had learned to play football in a parking lot near his home, and he blossomed into a four-time Indiana all-state selection at Gary Emerson High School. For other uses, see University of Chicago (disambiguation). ...


His older brothers, Lou and Ted, had played at Purdue but later Ted transferred to Indiana. Because of this, Alex said, "Indiana had the inside track" on recruiting him, but shortly after he graduated high school, several coaches from the University of Iowa took Karras up to Spencer, Iowa, and convinced him to sign with the Hawkeyes. The coaches had taken Karras to secluded Spencer to keep him away from rival recruiters. Louis George Karras (born September 19, 1927 in Gary, Indiana) was an American football offensive lineman in the NFL for the Washington Redskins. ... Theodore George Karras (born January 31, 1934 in Gary, Indiana) was an American football defensive tackle in the National Football League for four different teams. ... Purdue redirects here. ... Indiana University is the principal campus of the Indiana University system. ... The University of Iowa, also commonly called Iowa or locally UI, is a major coeducational research university located on a 1,900-acre (8 km²) campus in Iowa City, Iowa, US, on the banks of the Iowa River in East Central Iowa. ... Spencer is a city in Clay County, Iowa, United States, at the confluence of the Little Sioux and Ocheyedan Rivers. ...


Karras struggled his first few years at Iowa, both with homesickness and with his coach, Forest Evashevski. Alex probably would have left Iowa had he not befriended a Greek theater owner, as well as fellow players Cal Jones and Bob Commings. Karras' sophomore year with Iowa in 1955 got off to a rocky start when he showed up for practice twenty pounds overweight. Karras was also hampered that season by a cracked ankle bone. After being disappointed at not getting to play in the season finale, Karras threw a shoe at Evaskevski and quit the team. Karras did not earn a football letter for the 1955 season. Forest Evashevski (born February 19, 1918 in Detroit, Michigan) was a college football player at the University of Michigan and a college football coach and athletic director at the University of Iowa. ... For other persons of the same name, see Calvin Jones. ... Bob Commings (born December 24, 1932 in Youngstown, Ohio; died February 20, 1992) was a college football player and coach at the University of Iowa. ...


Karras went to summer classes and whipped his body and grades into shape. He rejoined the football team, but a strained relationship resurfaced. Evashevski promised to start Alex Karras in the 1956 season opener against Indiana, when Alex would square off against his brother, Ted. But Evy played Karras off of the bench instead, and Karras quit the team again. This time, he agreed to rejoin the team only after making Evashevski promise he would not talk to Karras. Iowa took the lead in the 1956 Big Ten title race with a 7-0 victory over Minnesota. The Hawkeyes then clinched the Big Ten title and Iowa's first ever Rose Bowl berth by defeating Ohio State, 6-0. Karras sealed the game with a quarterback sack on the game's final play. For other uses of the term Big Ten see Big Ten (disambiguation). ... Washington Avenue Bridge at night The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is the oldest and largest part of the University of Minnesota system. ... For other uses of the term Big Ten see Big Ten (disambiguation). ... The Rose Bowl is an annual American college football bowl game, usually played on January 1 (New Years Day) at the stadium of the same name in Pasadena, California. ... The Ohio State University (OSU) is a coeducational public research university in the state of Ohio. ...


Iowa's final regular season game in 1956 was against Notre Dame, which Iowa won, 48-8. Karras called it his most satisfying college win, saying, "The Karrases have always had a rivalry with Notre Dame. The school was just 60 miles down the road from our home and we wanted to beat 'em at anything."[1] However, after the game, Karras got into a physical battle with Evashevski. For other universities and colleges named Notre Dame, see Notre Dame. ...


Karras did not enjoy his trip to the Rose Bowl, either. "Pasadena was the most boring town I’ve ever been in," said Karras. "Menopause Manor. I remember one guy on the team got a date. It was me, and she was 67 years old. I guess you could call that a highlight." [2] Despite his bad date, Karras helped the Hawkeyes win the 1957 Rose Bowl over Oregon State, 35-19. He was a first team All-American in 1956. The Rose Bowl is an annual American college football bowl game, usually played on January 1 (New Years Day) at the stadium of the same name in Pasadena, California. ... An All-America team is a sports team composed of star players. ...


Karras spent the summer of 1957 with an American track team of Greek descent. He participated in the shot put, throwing a respectable 52 feet. In his senior season, Alex Karras was the most dominant lineman in the nation, winning the 1957 Outland Trophy. He also placed second in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, the highest finish ever for a tackle. In addition, Karras was a consensus first team All-American in 1957. See also: 1956 in sports, other events of 1957, 1958 in sports and the list of years in sports. // Auto Racing NASCAR Championship - Buck Baker Indianapolis 500 - Sam Hanks USAC Racing - Jimmy Bryan won the season championship Formula One Championship - Juan Manuel Fangio of Argentina 24 hours of Le Mans... Football Writers Association logo The Outland Trophy is awarded to the best United States college football interior lineman. ... Heisman redirects here. ... The College Football All-America Team is an honor given annually to the best American college football players at their respective position. ...


Hawkeye teammate Randy Duncan said, Randy Duncan (born Hearst Randolph Duncan, Jr. ...

Karras hated Evashevski, and he still does. I think Karras hated Evy for a lot of reasons. Evy was on everybody's back, and he was on Karras' back big time. Karras was a great football player, but he didn't really like offense and, in those days, you had to go both ways. So he didn't block anybody. What he wanted to do was chase down quarterbacks and play defense.

Karras has not returned to Iowa since his playing days. He once remarked,

It's ridiculous for Iowa to try to compete with Ohio State and Michigan in the Big Ten. Those schools have alumni groups that can get them anything they want.

[3]

NFL career and professional wrestling

Alex Karras was drafted in the first round by the Detroit Lions in 1958. However, before his NFL career got underway, he signed a contract as a professional wrestler on December 13, 1957, earning $25,000 during the six-month off-season. Eight days later, he officially signed with the Lions, spurning an offer from the Canadian Football League's Winnipeg Blue Bombers. City Detroit, Michigan Team colors Honolulu Blue, Silver, and Black Head Coach Rod Marinelli Owner William Clay Ford, Sr. ... ... is the 347th day of the year (348th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... USD redirects here. ... CFL redirects here. ... The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are a Canadian Football League team based in Winnipeg, Manitoba . ...


On January 7, 1963, Karras' ownership in Detroit's Lindell AC Bar became a source of controversy when league officials urged him to sell his financial interests in the place because of reports of gambling and organized crime influence. After first threatening to retire rather than give it up, Karras admitted placing bets on NFL games and was suspended by the league, along with Green Bay Packers' running back Paul Hornung, for one season (1963). is the 7th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1963 (disambiguation). ... Organized crime or criminal organizations are groups or operations run by criminals, most commonly for the purpose of generating a monetary profit. ... Packers redirects here. ... Paul Vernon Hornung (born December 23, 1935 in Louisville, Kentucky) is a former all-around athlete who played college basketball but is best known as an American football player. ... // May 4 — Pan American Games Marathon, Sao Paulo, Brazil Mens Winner: Fidel Negrete (MEX) 2:27:56 July 13 — Enschede Marathon, Netherlands Mens Winner: Václav Chudomel (CZE) 2:25:11 October 15 — Fukuoka Marathon, Japan Mens Winner: Jeff Julian (NZL) 2:18:01 Stock car racing...


During his exile, Karras returned to pro wrestling, taking on such memorable characters as Dick the Bruiser, but was then reinstated, along with Hornung, on March 16, 1964 by NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle. Upon returning to action in 1964, Karras once refused when an official asked him to call the pregame coin toss. "I'm sorry, sir," Karras replied. "I'm not permitted to gamble."[4] During his first year back, player discontent with head coach George Wilson resulted in Karras asking to be traded. However, the Lions settled the issue when they fired Wilson after the 1964 NFL season. For the video game, see Pro Wrestling (video game). ... Dick Afflis was a professional wrestler better known as Dick The Bruiser. ... is the 75th day of the year (76th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also Nintendo emulator: 1964 (emulator). ... Alvin Ray Pete Rozelle (March 1, 1926–December 6, 1996) was the commissioner of the National Football League (NFL) from January 1960 to November 1989, when he retired from office. ... George Wilson was a former professional football player and later a coach in the NFL and AFL for the Detroit Lions and the Miami Dolphins. ... The 1964 NFL season was the 45th regular season of the National Football League. ...


After another season of controversy under new head coach Harry Gilmer, Karras was rumored to be ready to play out his option and sign with the expansion Miami Dolphins of the American Football League under his former coach Wilson. Instead, Karras signed a seven-year contract with the Lions on May 20, 1966, with Wilson stating that Karras had used the threat of signing with Miami to garner the large deal with Detroit. This article does not cite its references or sources. ... City Miami Gardens, Florida Other nicknames The Fins Team colors Aqua, Coral, White and Navy Head Coach liljimjim Owner Wayne Huizenga General manager Randy Mueller Mascot T.D. League/Conference affiliations American Football League (1966-1969) Eastern Division (1966-1969) National Football League (1970–present) American Football Conference (1970-present... The American Football League (AFL) was a professional football league that operated from 1960 until 1969, when all of its teams were absorbed into the National Football League (NFL). ... is the 140th day of the year (141st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the 1966 Gregorian calendar. ...


Despite the new contract, controversy remained, as Karras and Gilmer sparred in midseason, with the coach reportedly ready to release the veteran defensive tackle. As before, it would be the coach who would depart, with Karras' former teammate Joe Schmidt taking over. Joe Schmidt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ...


On June 4, 1967, Karras once again hinted that he would retire in order to work at a new business venture; but once training camp began, Karras was back with the Lions. During that preseason, he jokingly commented that he would walk back from Denver if the AFL Broncos defeated the Lions. When that actually happened, Karras backtracked and flew home on the team plane. is the 155th day of the year (156th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1967 (MCMLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the 1967 Gregorian calendar. ... City Denver, Colorado Other nicknames Orange Crush (1977-1979 defense) Team colors Orange, Broncos Navy Blue, and White[1] Head Coach Mike Shanahan Owner Pat Bowlen General manager Ted Sundquist Mascot Miles League/Conference affiliations American Football League (1960-1969) Western Division (1960-1969) National Football League (1970–present) American...


Acting

Alex Karras as Mongo in Blazing Saddles.
Alex Karras as Mongo in Blazing Saddles.

In 1968, Karras figured prominently in the film adaptation of George Plimpton's sports book Paper Lion, playing himself. Three years later, Karras was under consideration for the part of Carlo Rizzi, the duplicitous brother-in-law of the Corleone family, in The Godfather. The role was one of many acting opportunities that developed following his performance in Paper Lion. Image File history File links Mongo_only_pawn_in_game_of_life. ... Image File history File links Mongo_only_pawn_in_game_of_life. ... Mongo may refer to subjects within the following categories: A city in Chad; see Mongo, Chad. ... Alex Karras as Mongo in Blazing Saddles Blazing Saddles (1974) is a comedy directed by Mel Brooks and starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, and released by Warner Brothers. ... Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... George Ames Plimpton (March 18, 1927 – September 25, 2003) was an American journalist, writer, editor, and actor. ... For other uses, see Book (disambiguation). ... Paper Lion is a famous non-fiction book by prominent American writer George Plimpton. ... This article is about the 1972 film. ...


Following his release by the Lions in 1971, he began acting on a full-time basis, playing a backwoods boy turned Olympic weightlifter named Hugh Ray Feather in 1973's The 500-Pound Jerk. A minor but memorable role came one year later in the western parody Blazing Saddles: the very strong and very slow-witted thug Mongo, who in one scene knocks out a horse with one punch. Year 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1971 Gregorian calendar, known as the year of cyclohexanol. ... For the song by James Blunt, see 1973 (song). ... Alex Karras as Mongo in Blazing Saddles Blazing Saddles (1974) is a comedy directed by Mel Brooks and starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, and released by Warner Brothers. ... Binomial name Equus caballus Linnaeus, 1758 The horse (Equus caballus, sometimes seen as a subspecies of the Wild Horse, Equus ferus caballus) is a large odd-toed ungulate mammal, one of ten modern species of the genus Equus. ...


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." [5] Fred The Hammer Williamson (born March 5, [[1938] is an American actor and former professional football player, a star defensive back in the AFL during the 1960s. ... MNF redirects here. ... The 1976 NFL season was the 57th regular season of the National Football League. ... City Oakland, California Other nicknames The Silver and Black Team colors Silver and Black Head Coach Lane Kiffin Owner Al Davis General manager Al Davis League/Conference affiliations American Football League (1960–1969) Western Division (1960–1969) National Football League (1970–present) American Football Conference (1970–present) AFC West (1970... Otis Sistrunk (born 1946 - ) was a defensive lineman who played 7 seasons from 1972 to 1978. ... Mars University is episode eleven of the first production season of Futurama. ...


Other later roles included as the sheriff (Porky's brother) in Porky's and as western settler Hans Brumbaugh in Centennial. He also played a bodyguard named "Squash" in the movie Victor/Victoria In the 1980s, Karras had memorable success in the TV sitcom Webster, playing the adoptive father of the title character, in a role that showcased his softer side. His actual wife, Susan Clark, played his fictional wife in the series; she also had a role in Porky's but the two never appeared in the same scenes.He and Susan Clark were also in the CBS movie "Babe" (1975), playing George Zaharis to her Babe Didrikson (Zaharias). Porkys is a comedy film about the escapades of teenagers at the fictional Angel Beach high school in Florida in 1954. ... Centennial was a 12-episode American television miniseries that aired on NBC from October 1978 to February 1979. ... Victor/Victoria is a 1982 musical comedy film. ... Webster was a sitcom produced by Paramount Television which premiered on ABC on September 16, 1983, and ran on that network until September 11, 1987, but continued in first-run syndication until 1989. ... Susan Clark (born March 8, 1940 in Sarnia, Ontario) is a Canadian actor, best known as Katherine Papadapolis in the TV sitcom Webster. ... Porkys is a comedy film about the escapades of teenagers at the fictional Angel Beach high school in Florida in 1954. ...


Honors

In conjunction with the 100 years of Hawkeye football celebration in 1989, Iowa Hawkeye fans selected an all-time team. The squad featured eleven players on offense and defense, two kickers, and fifteen special mention players who received strong fan support. Alex Karras was voted to the team as a defensive lineman. Karras was elected to the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in 1977 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991. // World Artistic Gymnastics Championships: Mens all-around champion: Igor Korobchinsky, USSR Womens all-around champion: Svetlana Boginskaya, USSR Mens team competition champion: USSR Womens team competition champion: USSR Best Year Performance  Dave Johnson  – 8549 points January 29 — Osaka Marathon, Japan Womens Winner: Lorraine Moller (NZL... The Iowa Sports Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Des Moines Register, honors outstanding athletes and sports contributors. ... College Football Hall of Fame front. ...


Trivia

  • He is the younger brother of Theodore Karras, who played guard with the Bears and Lions
  • He is also the younger brother of Lou Karras, who played with the Redskins
  • He is of Greek origin [6]
  • In 1977 he was cast in the lead of the TV movie Mad Bull.[7]
  • He owns an Ice Cream Parlor called The Cow, located in Surfside, SC.[citation needed]
  • On the FOX show Family Guy, in the episode I Take Thee Quagmire, Peter plays the final round of Wheel of Fortune, doesn't get any letters, but randomly guesses Alex Karras in Webster and wins.

Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Theodore George Karras (born January 31, 1934 in Gary, Indiana) was an American football defensive tackle in the National Football League for four different teams. ... City Chicago, Illinois Other nicknames Da Bears, The Monsters of the Midway Team colors Navy Blue and Orange Head Coach Lovie Smith Owner Virginia Halas McCaskey Chairman Michael McCaskey General manager Jerry Angelo Fight song Bear Down, Chicago Bears Mascot Staley Da Bear League/Conference affiliations Independent (1919) National Football... City Detroit, Michigan Team colors Honolulu Blue, Silver, and Black Head Coach Rod Marinelli Owner William Clay Ford, Sr. ... Louis George Karras (born September 19, 1927 in Gary, Indiana) was an American football offensive lineman in the NFL for the Washington Redskins. ... For other uses, see Redskins (disambiguation). ... Also: 1977 (album) by Ash. ... This article is about the animal. ... Family Guy is an Emmy Award-winning American animated television series about a dysfunctional family in the fictional town of Quahog, Rhode Island. ... “I Take Thee Quagmire” is an episode from the fourth season of FOX animated television series Family Guy. ... Wheel of Fortune may refer to: Wheel of Fortune (US game show), the US nighttime version. ... Look up webster, webber in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

References

  1. ^ Karras' Register Hall of Fame Bio
  2. ^ Gridiron Glory: 1956
  3. ^ Karras' Register Hall of Fame Bio
  4. ^ http://espn.go.com/page2/s/list/suspensions.html
  5. ^ http://www.raiders.com/common/article.aspx?id=1766
  6. ^ http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:zmKZnDHU8nEJ:www.greekshops.com/detail.aspx%3FProdID%3DgramvideoV1+Alex+Karras++Greek+American&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=19
  7. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076345/
  • Tales From The Iowa Sidelines, by Ron Maly (ISBN 1-58261-574-8)
  • Greatest Moments In Iowa Hawkeyes Football History, by Mark Dukes & Gus Schrader (ISBN 1-57243-261-6)
  • Evy and the Hawkeyes, by Brian Chapman and Mike Chapman (ISBN 0-88011-186-0)

External links

Preceded by
Jim Parker
Outland Trophy Winners
1957
Succeeded by
Zeke Smith

  Results from FactBites:
 
Alex Karras (176 words)
A college football star at the University of Iowa, Alex Karras turned professional in 1958, spending the next 14 years with the Detroit Lions.
Karras went on to be selected All-Pro in 1960, 1961, 1963 and 1965.
Karras have co-starred in the TV biopic Babe (1975), the raunchy but successful Porky's films, and the long-running (1983-87) TV sitcom Webster.
1968 Detroit Lions Alex Karras Game Worn Jersey. (203 words)
Any NFL or Lions fan who followed the club on TV, in the newspapers or in Street & Smith's knows that their 1960's standard uniform design, highlighted by silver Northwestern sleeve striping, was abandoned during the preseason and early season in favor of "hot weather friendly" mesh with screened on identifiers and stripeless sleeves.
Champion's label size 52 is sewn onto the left front tail and the jersey shows an acceptable level of wear.
Karras' jerseys are scarce and just as the affable Greek tackle was not exactly Paul Newman, this jersey's value and appeal lies in its scarcity and status as a forerunner to the '70's painted on mesh.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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