Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Karl Malden: One of the Greats

Sad news for film fans today: the superb actor Karl Malden has passed away at the age of 97.

What a list of credits he had: BOOMERANG! (1947)...THE GUNFIGHTER (1950)...A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951)...ON THE WATERFRONT (1954)...HOW THE WEST WAS WON (1962)...BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ (1962)...GYPSY (1962)...CHEYENNE AUTUMN (1964)...the TV-movie MIRACLE ON ICE (1981)...and two of our family's all-time favorites, POLLYANNA (1960) and PATTON (1970).

And that's just the top of the list! He had smaller roles in KISS OF DEATH (1947) and WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS (1950)...and on the list goes. Perhaps I'll watch my BOMBERS B-52 (1957) DVD soon in his honor.

Malden was also known, of course, for his long-running '70s show THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO -- part of the "TV background" of my childhood.

His final acting role was playing a priest in a 2000 episode of THE WEST WING, when he was 90 years old.

In a stroke of chance timing, Turner Classic Movies happens to have scheduled POLLYANNA to play early tomorrow, on July 2nd...I can't think of a nicer tribute than watching him in this film.

A long, full life. Thank you, Mr. Malden, for all the hours of enjoyment. I'm grateful.

Update: A tribute from John Nolte at Big Hollywood, and another from Raquelle who really makes me want to see COME FLY WITH ME (1963).

July 4th Update: Turner Classic Movies has announced a schedule change for Friday, July 10th, in order to pay tribute to Mr. Malden. The movies shown will be ON THE WATERFRONT, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, and BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ.


Blogger Irene said...

We have certainly lost a lot of well known people these last few weeks. Did you know that Gale Storm passed away a few days ago? I loved her shows as a little girl in the 50's - My Little Margie and The Gale Storm show.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I did read that, Irene...Gale Storm is someone whose work I'm not yet very familiar with. Hopefully in the future!

Best wishes,

2:54 PM  

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