Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Karl Malden, 1912-2009. R.I.P.

Actor Karl Malden died today. He was 97.

He is probably best known to baby boomers and some Gen Xers as the man who said of the American Express card, "Don't leave home without it!"

Before starring with Michael Douglas in Quinn Martin's The Streets of San Francisco, Malden was a mainstay of American movies for two decades.

Malden won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Mitch in the 1951 movie adaptation of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire. He had played the role on Broadway.

He also appeared in movies such as Fear Strikes Out, Birdman of Alcatraz, How The West Was Won and Patton.

But I remember him best in On The Waterfront with Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint. I saw a 50th anniversary reissue of the movie in 2004 and Malden's performance as Father Barry is the best thing about a very extraordinary movie with some very extraordinary actors.

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