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In Memoriam:
Karl Malden

July 2, 2009

Karl Malden (born Mladen George Sekulovich, March 22, 1912 – July 1, 2009)was an American actor. In a career that spanned more than seven decades, he featured in classic Marlon Brando films such as A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront and One-Eyed Jacks. Among other notable film roles were Archie Lee Meighan in Baby Doll, Zebulon Prescott in How the West Was Won and General Omar Bradley in Patton. His best-known role was on television as Lt. Mike Stone on the 1970s crime drama, The Streets of San Francisco. During the 1980s he was spokesperson for American Express, reminding cardholders "Don't leave home without it".

He was an actor’s actor who turned his less-than-movie-star looks into an asset as he portrayed average people with a well-above-average flair. Karl Malden has died at age 97. According to numerous sources he passed away at his home in Los Angeles’s Brentwood section due to natural causes.

A former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Malden won an Academy Award and was nominated for another working for director Elia Kazan and with fellow actor Marlon Brando. He earned the supporting actor Oscar in 1951 for his role in A Streetcar Named Desire, a role he also played on Broadway. He was again nominated three years later for his performance as Father Corrigan in On the Waterfront.

Many fans remember him as General Omar Bradley opposite George C. Scott in Patton, while others knew him at Lt. Mike Stone on the TV series The Streets of San Francisco, on which he starred with a then-young Michael Douglas. He earned five Emmy nominations for the series, but chalked up his lone Emmy victory for the 1985 mini-series Fatal Vision.

For 21 years, Malden was that front man for American Express Travelers Checks, and he helped make the phrase “Don’t leave home without them” part of the lexicon.

Malden was born Mladen Sekulovich on March 22, 1912 in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Gary, Indiana. He and his wife, Mona, celebrated their seventieth wedding anniversary in December 2008. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

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