Karl Malden


Honorary Degree (1973)
Doctor of Humane Letters
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: John W. Ryan


It is singularly appropriate that Karl Maiden should be honored during the 1973 Commencement season. Twenty-five years ago Broadway audiences were crowding the Barrymore Theatre to see Tennessee Williams' exciting new play, A Streetcar Named Desire and to be moved by the brilliant performances of Marlon Brando as Stanley, Jessica Tandy as Blanche, and Karl Maiden as Mitch. For his honest and sensitive portrayal of Mitch, Maiden was given the Drama Critics' Circle Award that spring of 1948, and when he repeated the role in the motion picture in 1951, he was honored with an Oscar by the Motion Picture Academy.

Although he has been singled out for other distinctions - Billboard's Donaldson Award for "high achievement in the theatre" in 1950 and nomination for another Oscar for his moving performance in On The Waterfront in 1954 - he has been more greatly and repeatedly honored by the audiences who have witnessed his many vital and life-like portraits in such plays (only a few can be listed) as Golden Boy (1937), Uncle Harry (1942), Truckline Cafe (1946), All My Sons (1947), Desire Under The Elms (1952), and The Desperate Hours (1955) by fellow Hoosier Joseph Hayes, who also received an honorary doctorate from Indiana University. A wider audience has come under his actor's magic in such motion pictures as Boomerang (1947), Halls of MonteĀ¬zuma (1950), Baby Doll (1956), One-Eyed Jacks (1961), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), Gypsy (1962), and Patton (1970). And now he is more widely known to the TV millions as Detective Stone in "The Streets of San Francisco."

He has always had a yen for the academic life; he has wanted to teach what he knows about his craft, and a few years ago he began doing it at Emporia State College, Kansas. He found the experience thoroughly stimulating, enjoyable, and rewarding, and has followed it up by teaching at Michigan State University, Eastern New Mexico University, Brigham Young University, Illinois State University, University of Denver, and Pacific University, Oregon.

Mladen Sekulovich, the name by which he is still remembered by many friends in Gary, was born in Chicago, lived there until he was five, and then moved to Gary where he attended the Emerson School from 1918 to 1930. He was a student at the Art Institute in Chicago from 1933 to 1936 and worked at the Institute's Goodman Theatre for a season before undertaking the Broadway adventure in 1938. Since that time he has divided his acting career between New York and Hollywood, contributing his extraordinary talent to the live theatre and to the motion pictures.