Veteran and Oscar-winning actor Karl Malden died today at age 97.
Karl won the Oscar in 1951 for his role as Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire, which also starred Marlon Brando. Karl went on to star in On the Waterfront, also with Marlon, as well as many other films, including Gypsy and Baby Doll. He was nominated four times for an Emmy for his role on TV show The Streets of San Francisco, but finally won for a different role in the miniseries Fatal Vision.
One of his best-known roles, however, was starring in commercials for American Express from 1978 to 1994, in which he warned viewers not to leave home without their AmEx cards.
"After 50 years of doing all those other things in the business, wherever I go, the one thing people will say to me is, ‘Don’t leave home without it,’ " Malden said in 1989. "What am I going to say? It’s kind of frustrating in a way, but at the same time, American Express has been very good to me, and it’s given me independence. I don’t have to jump at anything and everything that comes my way."
Karl was born Mladen Sekulovich in 1912 in Chicago, the son of immigrant parents. When he was 5 the family moved to Gary, Ind.