Thursday, July 2, 2009

Karl Malden — 1912-2009

He may have been a “character actor,” but he was unforgettable in any role.

Karl Malden, the Academy Award-winning character actor who for more than 60 years brought an intelligent intensity and a homespun authenticity to roles in theater, film and television, from “A Streetcar Named Desire” to “The Streets of San Francisco,” died on Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 97.


Mr. Malden was perhaps the ideal Everyman. He realized early on that he lacked the physical attributes of a leading man; he often joked about his blunt features, particularly his crooked, bulbous nose, which he had broken several times while playing basketball in school. But he was, he once said, determined “to be No. 1 in the No. 2 parts I was destined to get.”

He also became a spokesman for American Express travelers checks and gave immortality to the line, “Don’t leave home without them.”

Thanks for giving the uncommon touch to the common man roles.