Oscar-winner Karl Malden died today at age 97. Read the superb obituaries from Adam Bernstein of the Washington Post and Jim Cheng of USA Today. Bernstein described his appeal very well, saying Malden “excelled in plainspoken, working-class roles.” He had a wonderful integrity and sincerity — which is why he became a spokesman for American Express Travelers Checks for 21 years. No one ever said, “Don’t leave home without it” with more conviction.
I think my favorite Malden performance was the idealistic priest in “On the Waterfront.” He played a clergyman again in another of my favorites, “Pollyanna.” Talk about fire and brimstone!