Turner Classic Movies will present a three-film tribute to Karl Malden, who died on July 1, 2009.
In all the hubbub over Michael Jackson, who's death has pushed all other headlines off front pages everywhere, it's nice to see TCM giving Malden his due and waiting until the Jackson festival passed to do so.
Many people may remember Malden best from his role on the 1970s TV series "The Streets of San Francisco" with co-star Michael Douglas. However, he had a fine big-screen career as a character actor, playing characters who looked like us and acted like us. He played common men with uncommon skill.
I found this on the Examiner.com web site, which describes the time when he was nominated for an Oscar for "A Streetcar Named Desire":
"The story is told that he was making another movie and had not planned to be at the ceremony in 1952 which was not televised in those days. But he was informed only a short time before that he had to be there; and was told to go to wardrobe and get him a tuxedo. Since his family could not be there, he went alone.
"He was so embarrassed by the old car he was driving in comparison to the many fine limousines, he parked several blocks away and walked to the theater. He sat down next to Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. ... When Malden’s name was called, he rose put his coat in his seat and asked Lauren Bacall to watch his coat. This seems to be the pattern of his life – humbleness."
Most people don't realize that he played the role of Mitch in the original Broadway cast of "Streetcar." You can catch the movie version and two other films on TCM Friday night (all times Central):
7 p.m. On the Waterfront (Oscar nomination)
9 p.m. A Streetcar Named Desire (Oscar)
11:15 Birdman of Alcatraz
If you have a chance, catch some of his other fine performances in films like "Baby Doll," "Gypsy" and "Patton."
More about TCM's tribute