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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Karl Malden has passed away

Two-time Oscar-winning actor Karl Malden has passed away, it is being reported this afternoon. He was 97.

Malden started out working in steel mills and fighting in World War II, before getting into acting. He first won an Oscar for his portrayal of Mitch in 1951's A Streetcar Named Desire and then again for playing Father Barry in 1954's On The Waterfront. Malden appeared in many other films throughout the Fifties and Sixties (including Patton, where he was particularly memorable as Omar Bradley). And then in 1972 he landed the role of Lt. Stone in ABC's drama The Streets of San Francisco. In 1984 he appeared in the television movie Fatal Vision (based on the book about the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case), for which he won an Emmy.

But to those of us who grew up in the Eighties, Malden might be best remembered as the ubiquitous spokesman for American Express Travelers Cheques, along with his catchphrase "Don't leave home without them!" Malden also served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1989 to 1992.

He was a terrific actor, and will be missed.