Classic Movie Hub (CMH)


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Karl Malden

Karl Malden

A pitchman for American Express commercials for decades, his slogan ("Don't leave home without them") became a national catchphrase.

After a young Dick York who was coming into the hallway, out of the men's washroom, Malden was looking for him to play the role in Tea and Sympathy. He thought York was right for the role, which eventually paid off.

After he graduated from high school at the top of his class, he briefly left Gary, Indiana, to move to Arkansas, where he'd hoped to get a college athletics scholarship. The college turned him down due to his refusal to play football, other than basketball, hence, he returned to his hometown of Gary, Indiana.

After his father's death, six years later, he traveled to his father's real-life hometown of Yugoslavia, there, he helped produce the film Twilight Time (1982), a private movie.

As a teenager, he joined the Karageorge Choir.



At the urging of Elia Kazan, he change his name from Mladen Sekulovich to Karl Malden, taking his maternal grandfather's given name for his first name, and switching a couple of letters of his own first name for his last name. Malden remained a strong friend of Kazan's after the famed director was chastised by the Hollywood community for naming names before the House of Un-American Activities Committee in 1952. He strongly supported Kazan's controversial "lifetime achievement" Oscar honor, claiming that politics should have no place when it comes to awarding artistic merit.

Before he was a successful actor, he worked in the steel mills.

Best remembered on TV for his starring role as Lt. Mike Stone on "The Streets of San Francisco" (1972).

Born Mladen Sekulovich, he always regretted that in order to become an actor, he had to change his name. Since he was proud of his heritage, when he starred in a movie or on TV, he insisted that a character carry his family name: In On the Waterfront (1954), Fred Gwynne's character was named "Sekulovich".

Graduated from Chicago Art Institute in 1937, and came back to Gary, Indiana, without work or money.

Graduated from Emerson High School in Gary, Indiana, in 1931, with high grades.

Has two daughters, Mila Malden and Carla Malden. Carla co-authored his autobiography "When Do I Start".

He always practised meticulous preparation, studying a script carefully long before he stepped into the role.

He had not saved enough money to pay for one semester of schooling at the Goodman Theatre, the dramatic arm of the Chicago Art Institute, despite his working in the steel mills for a few years. He made a deal with the director of the program, hence, he gambled what little money he had agreeing that if he impressed the staff during his first semester, he would be given a full scholarship.

He quit working in the steel mills at 22 to study acting at the Goodman Theatre because he wasn't getting anywhere in the mills.

His family moved to Gary, Indiana, when he was 5.

His father, Petar Sekulovich, produced Serbian plays at his church.

His father, Petar Sekulovich, worked in the steel mills and as a milkman, his mother, Minnie Sekulovich, was a seamstress.

His wife graduated from Roosevelt High School in Emporia, Kansas, where she attended Kansas State Teachers College (now Emporia St. University). He and Mona visited the campus in 1959, and was impressed by the ESU Summer Theatre. He returned in the summer of 1964, to teach, working with the actors in the company. Prior to leaving, he gave his honorarium to established the Karl Malden Scholarship, which is still given today.

In 1971, he accepted the Oscar for "Best Director" on behalf of Franklin J. Schaffner, who wasn't present at the awards ceremony

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