Karl Malden was born March 22, 1912 in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Gary, Indiana. The son of Minnie, a seamstress, and Petar Sekulovic, a steel worker.
Karl's father had a passion for music and organized a choir. As a teenager, Karl joined the Karageorge Choir. In addition, his father produced plays at the church and taught acting. Karl participated in many of these plays which included Jack and the Beanstalk.
In high school, he participated in the drama department. After graduating high school, he worked in the steel mills with his father.
In September 1934, Karl decided to leave his home in Gary, Indiana, to pursue formal dramatic training at the Goodman School (later part of DePaul University), then associated with the Goodman Theater in Chicago. He graduated from the Chicago Art Institute in 1937.
In 1937, he traveled to New York City and first appeared on stage in the Broadway production of Golden Boy. He also appeared in Broadway productions of How to Get Tough about It, Missouri Legend, Key Largo, and The Gentle People.
His acting career was interrupted by World War II, during which he served as a noncommissioned officer in the 8th Air Force. While in the service, he was given a small role in the U.S. Army Air Forces play and film Winged Victory.
After the war ended in 1945, he resumed his acting career, appearing in such Broadway productions as Truckline Cafe, A Street Car Named Desire, Tea and Sympathy and The Desperate Hours.
Karl Malden would make his film debut in They Knew What They Wanted (1940).
He would appear in such films as Winged Victory (1944), Kiss of Death (1947) and Where he Sidewalk Ends (1950) before his big break.
In 1951, he played Harold "Mitch" Mitchell in the film A Streetcar Named Desire and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Karl Madlen would go on to star in such films as I Confess (1953), On The Waterfront (1954), Baby Doll (1956), Pollyanna (1960), The Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), How the West Was Won (1962), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), Nevada Smith (1966), Patton (1970) and Wild Rovers (1971).
His final film was Nuts (1997).
He would earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for On The Waterfront (1954)
Karl Malden also frequently appeared on television shows and television movies like Alice in Wonderland, The Streets of San Fransico, Call Me Anna, Skag, His final performance before retiring would be on The West Wing in 2000.
He would be nominated for an Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama series for Streets of San Fransico four times.
He would win the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Special for Fatal Vision (1984).
In 2004, he received the Screen Actors Guild Award for Lifetime Achievement.
He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.
On December 18, 1938, Malden married Mona Greenberg, who survives him. Their marriage was one of the longest in Hollywood's history, lasting more than 70 years.
Karl Malden passed away July 1, 2009 at the age of 96 of natural causes.
In addition to his wife, Malden is survived by daughters Mila and Carla, his sons-in-law, three granddaughters, Alison, Emily, and Cami, and four great-grandchildren, Mila, Stella, Charlie, and Thomas Karl.