Karl Malden, Oscar-Winner and AmEx Face, Dead at 97

'Don't leave home without it,' he reminded
By A Ali,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2009 3:09 PM CDT
Karl Malden, Oscar-Winner and AmEx Face, Dead at 97
In this 1956 photo released by Warner Bros., Malden, left, and Carroll Baker are shown in a scene from "Baby Doll."   (AP Photo)

Karl Malden—the Oscar-winner who later famously reminded travelers not to leave home without their American Express traveler’s checks—died today at 97 of natural causes, the Los Angeles Times reports. The former steel worker played supporting roles in 50 films during the 1950s and ‘60s, winning an Oscar for A Streetcar Named Desire. He nabbed four consecutive Emmy nominations for The Streets of San Francisco.

Born to immigrants in Chicago, Malden spoke little English until he was 5. His father—a career milkman—transferred his love for theater to his son. Despite Malden’s accomplished career, he’s most remembered for his AmEx commercials. “After 50 years of doing all those other things, wherever I go, the one thing people will say to me is, ‘Don’t leave home without it,’” he once said. (Read more Karl Malden stories.)

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