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Karl Malden dies at 97; Alexis Arguello dead at 57

Matt Schudel

Karl Malden, the actor who won an Academy Award for best supporting actor his performance as Mitch in the 1951 film version of "A Streetcar Named Desire" and who was nominated for an Oscar as a priest in "On the Waterfront" (1954), has died at the age of 97.

Malden worked in steel mills in his youth and brought a solid, earthy, no-nonsense style of acting to the screen. He later played a cop opposite Michael Douglas on "The Streets of San Francisco" in the 1970s TV police drama. Baseball fans -- or at least fans of baseball movies -- will remember Malden as the overbearing father in the emotionally searing "Fear Strikes Out," in which Anthony Perkins played the role of Jimmy Piersall.

Look for Adam Bernstein's obituary online and in the Thursday Post.

Here's Malden in one of his greatest roles, "On the Waterfront."

But many later audiences recall him as the pitchman for American Express for 21 years. For those who can't get enough, here are a bunch of his ads:

Meanwhile, former boxing world champion Alexis Arguello, and the current mayor of Manaugua, Nicaragua, has died at 57. Arguello was one of the greatest boxers of the 1970s and 1980s and won world championship belts in three weight divisions. He may be best remembered, though, for his epic 1982 battle with Aaron Pryor, which went back and forth until Pryor knocked Arguello out in the 14th round.

Last year, Arguello was elected mayor of his native Managua. He was found dead of a gunshot this morning, an apparent suicide. Matt Schudel is working on the obituary.

By Matt Schudel |  July 1, 2009; 3:45 PM ET  | Category:  Matt Schudel
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Terrible, one of the greatest ever and a pretty cool guy. I saw him fight a couple of times in NYC in the seventies. A brute with a smile all the time. After blowing all his money he was asked, "you made over ten million dollars, what happened?" He answered, "I spent it."

Posted by: milfordone | July 1, 2009 4:47 PM

First it was David Carradine, then Ed McMahon, Farrah Spicket, Micheal Jackson, Billy Mays. Death! What is all this death and dying about? What is it good for?? Absolutely nothing!

Posted by: matrox | July 1, 2009 8:21 PM

Actually, matrox, it was David Carradine, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Billy Mays, Gale Storm, and now Karl Malden and Alexis Arguello. One more to go, because you know, these things always come in threes.

I had no idea that Karl Malden was that old. Guess that explains why I haven't seen him lately.

Wonder who'll be next. It'll be someone famous for something, though.

Posted by: kentuckywoman2 | July 1, 2009 9:05 PM

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