It’s a true pleasure to be here today and to join you all in honoring the great Karl Malden.
Karl Malden was born in the heart of America, in Chicago, to a family that taught him to take deep and loving pride in his Serbian heritage. In doing so, he became a man that represents the best in all of us, Serb and American, and the values we share. He was a kind man, hard-working, a devoted husband of 71 years, a loving father to his two daughters, and warm and respectful to everyone he met.
I’d like to acknowledge and thank President Vučić for taking what I understand was a very personal role in creating this fantastic tribute to Karl Malden.
I also want to express my gratitude to the Government of Serbia, particularly the Ministry of Information and Culture, for providing the resources necessary to bring us this inspired creation from Zdravko Joksimović.
I would also like to thank Jugoslav Pantelić and the team here at the Jugoslovenska Kinoteka, not only for all of your work in organizing today’s event, but for finding such a wonderful home for this statue.
And, finally, I want to acknowledge the passionate work and tireless effort of Dan Tana – a Hollywood legend in his own right – in making all of this happen. Dan, your love and appreciation for Karl as both an actor and a friend fueled this project and, ultimately, has brought us all here today to honor him. I imagine he would be touched beyond words. Congratulations and thank you.
Karl Malden was a brilliant actor. We all know that. Countless words have been written about his excellent work in over fifty Hollywood films, multiple television appearances, and on the stages of Broadway. His well-deserved Academy Award for A Streetcar Named Desire cemented his place as one of the greatest actors of his generation.
That was just one of the many iconic performances that Karl Malden left us during his extensive and distinguished career. Indeed, he was involved in some of Hollywood’s most classic and enduring films: On the Waterfront, How the West Was Won, Patton. The list goes on and on.
You know, I myself also remember watching Karl Malden on television as Lt. Detective Mike Stone on The Streets of San Francisco, one of TV’s most popular shows when I was a teenager. His character was tough, motivated by strong values, and relentless in pursuing justice. He always got the bad guy, and he always left young Michael Douglas – and the audience – with something deep to think about at end of each show.
This memorial will be here to remind us to pause and think deeply, of Karl Malden the actor and of Karl Malden the man. After all, isn’t this why we create tributes like this in the first place? Not just to celebrate a person’s accomplishments, but to remember who they were as a person, and what they represented in life.
Karl Malden was not just one of Hollywood’s greatest character actors. He was also – much more importantly – a man of great character.