‘Streets of San Francisco’ Star Karl Malden Dead at 97

Jul 1, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Karl Malden, Emmy- and Oscar-winning star of the 1970s TV series "The Streets of San Francisco," died in Los Angeles today at age 97.

Malden, who was a much-in-demand Hollywood supporting actor for decades, also was well-known to TV viewers as a longtime pitchman for American Express Travelers Cheques, warning travelers, "don’t leave home without them."

The Los Angeles Times reported that he died of natural causes at his home in Brentwood, citing as a source his daughter Mila Doerner.

Born Mladen Sekulovich in Chicago on March 22, 1912, Malden began his career on the New York stage in the late 1930s and appeared in his first motion picture, "They Knew What They Wanted," in 1940. He went on to play a variety of roles in more than 50 films, among them "On the Waterfront," "Baby Doll," "Pollyanna," "Birdman of Alcatraz," "How the West Was Won," "Gypsy,"  "The Cincinnati Kid" and "Patton." He won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for the 1951 film adaptation of "A Streetcar Named Desire," in which he recreated his role as Mitch in the Broadway play.

His role as Lt. Mike Stone in the 1972-77 ABC police drama "The Streets of San Francisco," which co-starred Michael Douglas, earned Malden four consecutive Emmy nominations for lead actor in a drama series. He finally won a supporting Emmy for his performance in the 1984 miniseries "Fatal Vision."

He also appeared in the 1988 TV movie "The Hijacking of the Achille Lauro."

He remained professionally active up until 2000, appearing in later years in a "Streets of San Francisco" TV movie and an episode of "The West Wing."

–Tom Gilbert

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