2 Jul 2009

Death of Karl Malden

9:58 am on 2 July 2009

Award winning actor Karl Malden died on Wednesday. He had been in failing health in recent years.

In a career spanning seven decades, Malden, 97, acted in the plays of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, as well as in the films of directors Elia Kazan, Alfred Hitchcock and John Frankenheimer.

He won acclaim for film roles in A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront before gaining TV fame as a leading man in The Streets of San Francisco.

He was also a commercial spokesman for American Express travelers checks.

Malden was born Mladen George Sekulovich in Chicago to parents of Serb and Czech origins, grew up in Gary, Indiana, and worked at a steel mill before moving to New York City in 1937 to pursue acting.

His stage debut came that year in Golden Boy and he later appeared in the original cast of Miller's All My Sons.

His first film part was in the 1940 drama They Knew What They Wanted, starring Carole Lombard and Charles Laughton.

Malden won an Academy Award for his 1951 portrayal of the lovelorn Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire - the role he created on Broadway.

He earned a second Oscar nomination as a crusading priest in the 1954 classic On the Waterfront.

Both films were directed by Elia Kazan and starred Marlon Brando.

In 1985, Malden won an Emmy as the father of a woman murdered by her husband in the NBC miniseries Fatal Vision.