Academy Award winner Karl Malden, who starred alongside friend Marlon Brando in such classic films at A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront, and won another generation of fans with the TV show The Streets of San Francisco, has died. He was 97.
Malden died of natural causes, his daughter Mila Doerner told the Los Angeles Times.
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Born in Chicago as Mladen Sekulovich, Malden was the son of a Czech seamstress and a Serbian steel worker. He first pursued acting in 1934, by enrolling in the Goodman School at DePaul University, and went on to a career spanning seven decades and more than 50 films.
Malden, whose round nose and thick cheeks made him look more like a street-savvy tough-guy than a typical leading man, once told the Times that he was "incredibly lucky" to enjoy the on-camera career that he did.
Malden made his film debut in 1940's They Knew What They Wanted. Following a World War II stint in the Air Force, Malden went on to star in such films as Birdman of Alcatraz, Baby Doll and Patton.
In 1951, Malden won an Academy Award for his turn as A Streetcar Named Desire's Mitch, a role he had previously played on Broadway. Three years after the film he reteamed with Brando, who played Stanley Kowalski in Streetcar, in On the Waterfront. Malden played Father Barry, the bruising, courageous priest who becomes the conscience of Brando's Terry Malloy.
All told, Malden and Brando did three films together. "Marlon made me work harder, dig deeper than any other actor I have ever worked with," Malden wrote in his memoir, When Do I Start?
Check out photos of Malden through his career