Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: Karl Malden

Friday, July 3, 2009

Karl Malden

This is a brief acknowledgement of Karl Malden's death on Wednesday since I am not as familiar with the man as I wish I was. Early in my life, he made a personal impact on me as Detective Lt. Mike Stone on TV's The Streets of San Francisco (1972-77), where he exhibited some wonderful chemistry with a young Michael Douglas. And of course he was even better known to my generation for his stint in the 80s as a pitchman for American Express ("Don't leave home without them"). But later, it was through my discovery of his wonderful supporting performances in films as varied as A Streetcar Named Desire(1951), On the Waterfront(1954), and Patton (1970), that he truly reached a measure of eminence. His ability to mix a working-class everyman quality with a certain level of dignity made him a character actor with a pliability that one rarely finds in today's performers. He died on July 1st at the age of 97. Recommended Films - A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, Baby Doll, One-Eyed Jacks, Birdman of Alcatraz, Gypsy, How the West Was Won, The Cincinnati Kid, Billion Dollar Brain, Patton

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