from Associated Press by Beth Harris
LOS ANGELES - Karl Malden, 97, the Academy Award-winning actor whose intelligent characterizations on stage and screen made him a star despite his plain looks, died yesterday, his family said.
Mr. Malden died of natural causes surrounded by his family at his Brentwood home, they told the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. He served as the academy's president from 1989 to 1992.
Mr. Malden gained prominence on Broadway in the late 1930s, making his debut in Golden Boy, by Clifford Odets. He steadily gained more prominent roles, with time out for service in the Army in World War II.
He was born Mladen Sekulovich in Chicago on March 22, 1912. Mr. Malden regretted that in order to become an actor he had to change his name.
Among Malden's more than 50 film credits were: "Patton," in which he played Gen. Omar Bradley.