Karl Malden was an American actor who is well known for his character roles. He started his career on Broadway and then went on to make several movies and television appearances. Sadly, he died at the age of 97.
During his 60-year career, actor Karl Malden proved himself to be a versatile performer. From his roles as a lovelorn Mitchum in “Streetcar” to his portrayal of Zebulon Prescott in “How the West Was Won,” he made his mark in the film industry. Throughout his career, Malden also appeared in a wide variety of television shows.
A born and bred Chicago boy, Malden attended the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. He went on to win an Oscar for his performance in the film “Streetcar,” a role that earned him four Emmy nominations.
In addition to acting, Malden was a basketball player. He was named the star of his school’s basketball team. But he also had a passion for playing semi-pro basketball. His teammates called him the “bullhorn.”
Malden worked at a steel mill to save up for drama school. Then, he met director Elia Kazan. They began a relationship that eventually led to their marriage. Afterward, Malden took up a job as a spokesman for American Express travelers’ checks.
When Malden was young, his father emigrated from Bosnia to America. Malden and his father lived in Gary, Indiana, where Malden’s father had a church and organized choir. This was where Malden’s father taught and staged Serbian plays.
After the death of his mother, Malden’s father became the head of the family. He supported the family by driving a milk wagon for 38 years. However, the family was poor.
As a student, Malden was elected senior class president. He was also a popular participant in the drama department. At the end of his senior year, he played a lead in a play by Shaw.
Malden went on to study acting at the Chicago Goodman Theatre and the Actors Studio. He was offered a role in the film “Winged Victory” in 1944.
Before he could get his foot in the door as an actor, he served in the Army Air Force during World War II. Following the war, he returned to the theater.
Malden was known for his gruffness and oversized nose. His commercial catchphrases became famous on television, and he was a popular subject for comedians.
If you’re a fan of theater, you’ll recognize Karl Malden from his roles in plays by Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. He made his Broadway debut in 1937 and went on to perform in over 20 plays. In addition, he appeared in several films.
Karl Malden was born on March 22, 1912 in Chicago, Illinois. His parents were Czech and Serbian. The family moved to Gary, Indiana when he was five years old. He graduated from high school in 1937. He earned a full scholarship to study drama at the Goodman Theater in Chicago. Afterwards, he worked in a steel mill. After three years, he decided to leave his job to pursue an acting career.
Malden began his professional career on stage with Group Theatre. This company was an organization of actors and directors that emphasized social realities. It was founded by Elia Kazan, whose direction of Malden in several plays led to his Broadway debut.
During his time with Group Theater, he met actress Mona Greenberg. They married in 1938. They had two daughters. Throughout his career, Malden worked on Broadway, in film, and on television.
He appeared in several Tennessee Williams plays. Among the notable ones were All My Sons, Streetcar Named Desire, and On the Waterfront. At the age of nineteen, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1951 for his role as Mitch in Streetcar.
He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. Later, he played the character Herbie in the movie version of the musical Gypsy. During the 1970s, he was a regular fixture on television. A television series, “The Streets of San Francisco”, starred him as a tough cop.
Malden also starred in two movies directed by John Frankenheimer. Those movies included Gypsy and Birdman of Alcatraz. These films were adapted from the original plays written by Tennessee Williams.
Karl Malden has died at the age of 97. He has been survived by his wife, his daughters, and four great-grandchildren.
Although he had a successful film career, he spent most of his career on stage. Malden won an Oscar for his role as Mitch in Streetcar.
Movies and television roles
Malden had a long, storied career as a television and movie actor. He began his acting career on stage at the age of fifteen. He later made his debut on screen. His first film was a wartime drama about an accused North Korean spy.
Karl Malden’s career spanned sixty years. In addition to his acting, he also served as President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 22, 1912, Malden grew up in Gary, Indiana. He began to show interest in the theatre during his high school years. After graduating, he worked in the steel mill industry in his hometown. A desire to pursue a career as an actor led him to New York City. There, he met director Elia Kazan.
He starred in several plays directed by Kazan. This eventually led to a contract with 20th Century-Fox. At that time, he also became involved with the Group Theater.
In his films, Malden was a very forceful, dynamic performer. One of his most memorable roles was that of Lt. Mike Stone in “The Streets of San Francisco”.
During his career, Malden starred in several classic Brando films, including “One Eyed Jacks,” “Fear Strikes Out,” and “The Cincinnati Kid.” These films were not only popular with critics and audiences, but they also provided Malden with his first Oscar nomination.
Malden was awarded the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2003. On February 8, 1960, Malden became a star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Malden’s family traces its roots back to Podosoje, a town in Bosnia. In addition to his acting career, Malden was a prominent member of the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee and served as a President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science from 1989-1992.
As a member of the Actors’ Studio, Malden also starred in several of director Elia Kazan’s plays. He appeared in many other works, including A Streetcar Named Desire and Fear Strikes Out.
His acting career spanned over sixty years, from his early days on stage to his final appearance on television. Throughout his long career, he was known for his versatile character roles.
Death at age 97
Karl Malden, the Academy Award-winning actor, died at age 97 in his California home on Wednesday. He died of natural causes. He had been in failing health for the past several years. His family informed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of his death.
He began his acting career in 1937, with a small role in the Broadway play “Golden Boy”. After that, he was cast in several major plays, including ones directed by Elia Kazan. The first was “All My Sons,” which was written by Arthur Miller.
In 1953, he was cast as a priest in the film “On the Waterfront”. In 1960, he played the president’s boyhood parish priest in “The West Wing”. Later, he starred in the television series “The Streets of San Francisco” in the 1970s. During his television career, Malden was nominated for four Emmys.
Malden appeared in 50 movies during his lifetime. Aside from his acting, he also served as a pitchman for American Express. One of his most famous commercials was for travelers cheques.
Malden was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for three terms. He was also a longtime board member of the Academy. Besides his acting career, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Academy Library.
Malden’s career in the theater spanned 60 years. He played a number of popular roles. His most memorable came in “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “On the Waterfront.”
He was also nominated for the Academy Award in 1951 for his performance in the film “A Streetcar Named Desire”. That same year, he received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. Other ad campaigns include his role in “The Streets of San Francisco”. Throughout his career, Malden portrayed plain-spoken men with coarse manners.
In the 1970s, Malden gained a new legion of fans with the TV series “The Streets of San Francisco.” He co-starred with Michael Douglas. This pair of actors worked together for four years. Their marriage was one of the longest in Hollywood history. They were married for 70 years.
Despite his failing health, Malden did not stop his career. His last TV appearance was on the 2000 episode of “The West Wing” where he addressed the death penalty.