March 23, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday, Karl Malden


Happy 97th birthday to Karl Malden who celebrated his special day yesterday (I'm slow on the uptake).

Mr. Malden has had a career spanning some seven decades - - from a stage debut in 1937 to an Academy Award in 1951 from his performance in "A Streetcar Named Desire" to his greatest fame, the role of Det. Mike Stone on "The Streets of San Francisco". He was the face of American Express for an astounding 21 years and in 1988 was elected President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a position he held for 5 years. His last appearance was on "The West Wing" in 2000 - - not too shabby for a kid who couldn't speak a word of English until he was in kindergarten.

Personally, Mr. Malden has been married to his wife Mona since 1938 - - quite a feat for anyone these days, much less an actor.

Considered to be a consummate professional, my favorite role of Mr. Malden's was his portrayal of Freddy Kassab in the miniseries "Fatal Vision", the true story of Jeffrey MacDonald's murderous rampage on his family. Freddy Kassab nearly single-handedly assured that his former son-in-law would not get away with butchering Freddy's beloved daughter and granddaughters and Mr. Malden played the part with tenderness, with command, with dignity and with the drive Freddy Kassab possessed.

So happy (belated) birthday, Karl Malden! May this year bring you much deserved happiness and joy and thank you for giving us decades of talent, joy and entertainment.

Karl Malden and his lovely wife

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