Esteemed character actor Karl Malden, who became known to millions of TV viewers as a veteran police detective in The Streets of San Francisco, has died, aged 97. No cause of death was reported.
Despite his years alongside a young Michael Douglas (pictured), it was in film and theatre that he made his mark. He played the shy suitor in A Streetcar Named Desire and an Oscar nominated performance in On the Waterfront. Amongst his countless films were Baby Doll, Gypsy, Cheyenne Autumn and Nuts.
He made his greatest mark in Hollywood in the early 1950s as part of a group of New York theatre stars, headed by actor Marlon Brando and director Elia Kazan, who were trying to bring an unpredictable, realistic style of acting to audiences.
He twice broke his nose playing basketball, and he was resigned to never playing a romantic leading man.
“God knows I didn’t have a pretty face to help me get parts, so in order to stay in this profession, I realised early on that I’d better know my business,” he wrote in a 1997 memoir, When Do I Start? “I strived to be number one in the number two parts I was destined to get.”
Malden was nominated four times for an Emmy in The Streets of San Francisco, and he won for outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or a special for Fatal Vision (1984), and played a priest in an episode of The West Wing.
He also fronted the ad campaigns for American Express urging consumers not to leave home without traveler’s checks. He joked that this became his best-known part.
From 1989 to 1992, he was president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and helped raise millions of dollars to build a library and film research center. In 2004, he received a Screen Actors Guild award for a lifetime of achievement.
Source: Washington Post