Karl Malden: 1912-2009

The Oscar-winning character actor gave great performances in a number of classic films.

by | July 1, 2009 | Comments

Oscar-winning character actor Karl Malden, best known for his work in such classics as A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront, died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 97.

Malden won his Best Supporting Actor Oscar in Streetcar, directed by Elia Kazan, who also directed Malden in one of his most famous roles, as a priest who encourages Marlon Brando to stand up to the mob in On the Waterfront. Noted for his rich voice, round face, and giant nose, Malden’s distinctive presence graced a number of classic films, including Baby Doll, How the West Was Won, Birdman of Alcatraz, and Patton.


In addition, Malden became well known for his role on the TV cop show The Streets of San Francisco, in which he co-starred with Michael Douglas. He also acted as a pitchman in commercials for American Express traveler’s checks in the 1970s and 1980s; his voice lent authority to the company’s slogan, “Don’t leave home without them.” Malden is survived by his wife, Mona Greenberg, to whom he’d been married since 1938, and two daughters. For a photographic retrospective of Malden’s work, be sure to check out our dedicated gallery.


Thank you to TheStreetsOfSanFrancisco.net for their excellent collection of screen caps.