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Actor Karl Malden on the Method

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As a Broadway veteran and Academy Award winner, Karl Malden is among the most respected character actors in Hollywood in 1959. Along with his friend Marlon Brando and the late James Dean, he says he's often cited as an actor who practises the Method - an approach in which the actor attempts to inhabit his character's thoughts and feelings. But in this interview from CBC Radio's Assignment, Malden disagrees that he's an adherent. "I believe the Method is really a myth," he tells interviewer Tony Thomas. "We all strive for the basic inner truth of a character ... I believe most actors are striving for the same thing."

• Born in Chicago to a Czech-Serbian family in 1912, Karl Malden began acting in plays at church and in high school. He was also a basketball player in high school and twice broke his nose, resulting in what would become one of his most distinctive features.
 

• At 22, while acting with a theatre company, he changed his name from Mladen Sekulovich to Karl Malden.

• In 1937, after working in steel mills and then attending theatre school, Malden moved to New York and appeared on Broadway. His film career took off in the 1950s, and he won an Academy Award for Best Actor playing Mitch in 1951's A Streetcar Named Desire.

• Malden worked steadily through the 1960s and in 1972 took on the role of Lt. Mike Stone in the TV series Streets of San Francisco. The program aired for five seasons and earned Malden four Emmy nominations.

• On July 1, 2009, at the age of 97, Karl Malden died at his home in Los Angeles.

Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Broadcast Date: July 21, 1959
Guest(s): Karl Malden
Host: Bill McNeil, Frank Stalley
Interviewer: Tony Thomas
Duration: 6:14

Last updated: April 2, 2013

Page consulted on July 2, 2014

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