1. People & Relationships
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in our forum

Mona and Karl Malden Marriage Profile

By

Photo: David Livingston / Getty Images

Mona and Karl Malden in Los Angeles, California on November 9, 2005.

Photo: David Livingston / Getty Images
One of Hollywood's longest marriages ended with the death of Karl Malden. Karl and Mona Malden celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in December 2008. Here is information about their long lasting marriage, how they met, and more.

Born:

Karl Malden aka Mladen Sekulovich: March 22, 1912 in Chicago, Illinois.

Mona Greenberg aka Mona Graham:

Died:

Karl Malden: Karl died in his sleep at the age of 97 at his home in Brentwood, California on July 1, 2009.

How Karl and Mona Met:

Mona and Karl met at the Goodman Theatre Dramatic School in Chicago. Karl considered Mona "the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen."
Source: Philip Potempa. "'Hard work and dreams': Karl Malden remembers his roots."TheTimesOnLine.com. 12/02/2007.

Karl: "I don't remember ever really 'setting my sights' on her. We just kept gravitating to each other ... I knew that I might never find that again. There was only one thing to do. Get married."
Source: Karl Malden. When Do I Start? A Memoir. 1997. pg. 97.

Wedding Date:

Karl and Mona were married on December 18, 1938 in New York in a synagogue. Karl borrowed $50 to pay for the ceremony. The had two acquaintances stand up for them.
Charles Champlin: "He [Karl] married Mona Graham, an actress he met at the Goodman and they moved so often he has trouble remembering when they lived where. (They celebrated their 59th anniversary in December.) For their wedding dinner they found they had 80 cents between them and went to a Chock Full O' Nuts coffee shop."
Source: Charles Champlin. "King Karl." LATimes.com. 4/26/1998.
"Mona's mother was there, forcing a smile, as well as her aunt, uncle, and two cousins. I had no family by my side. There was no music. No flowers. Mona and I both wore the one suit we each owned. Hers was blue. I don't even remember what color mine was. something dark ... The rabbi rushed through the ceremony ... It was a lot like getting a shot. All this anxiety and build up, then boom, it was over and we barely knew what hit us."
Source: Karl Malden. When Do I Start? A Memoir. 1997. pgs. 100-101.

After their wedding, they had lunch with their wedding guests at Mona's aunt and uncle's. Then Karl went back to work.

Children:

Mona and Karl raised two daughters. Their family includes their daughters, their sons-in-law, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
  • Mila Malden Doerner
  • Carla Malden

Occupations:

Karl: Actor, author, spokesman, director, and president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for three terms. Karl served in the Army Air Force as a corporal from 1943 to 1945.

Mona: Actress.

Coty Garbison: "In their first play together, "Jack and the Beanstalk," he played the giant and she was the giant's wife."
Source: Coty Miranda Garbison. "'Sukie' Honored Back Home." The Post - Tribune. 6/3/2001. pg. B.6.

Quotes About the Marriage of Karl and Mona Malden:

Karl: "If I have been fortunate enough to build a life of which I can be proud, then Mona is the foundation on which that life was built."
Source: Karl Malden. When Do I Start? A Memoir. 1997. pg. 358.

Karl: "Mona and I decided that we would make it our practice to try to save half of whatever we earned. That became our standard operating procedure."
Source: Karl Malden. When Do I Start? A Memoir. 1997. pg. 103.

Karl and Mona purchased a home in Los Angeles in 1959. "And Mona and I have been living in it ever since."
Source: Karl Malden. When Do I Start? A Memoir. 1997. pg. 280

Karl in an interview: "Q: You've been married for 52 years to the same woman, some people would say ...
A: Yes (smiling) that's a square. Especially in this town."
Source: Judith Michaelson. "Expressly, Karl Malden." LATimes.com. 1/20/1991.

Karl: "People ask me how I have managed to stay married for fifty-eight years. The answer is easy. I married the right girl."
Source: Karl Malden. When Do I Start? A Memoir. 1997. pg. 358.

Edward Guthmann: "Stoic and hardworking, married for 59 years to the same woman, Malden's life story is what newspaper editors call "dull copy" -- no juice, no sex, never a whiff of scandal ... Malden lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Mona ("I married the right girl"), and sees both daughters, Mila and Carla, frequently. "We are the closest family I know," he writes, "ridiculously close almost."
Source: Edward Guthmann. "Memorably Malden." San Francisco Chronicle. 12/16/1997. pg. E.1.

Francis Kent: "Throughout his career, Malden has never been the sort of public figure whose antics tend to characterize the movie business. He is, rather, a professional who takes his work seriously -- an actor's actor who shows up on time, knows his lines and delivers them without flaw. Moreover, his private life is not the stuff of supermarket tabloids. Malden, like the Harrigan of song, is "a name that a shame never has been connected with."
Source: Francis B. Kent. "Gary Native Karl Malden Deserves Top National Honor." The Post - Tribune. 9/17/2006. pg. B.3.

Karl: "I found [in New York] a kindred spirit in another familiar face from Goodman -- Mona Greenberg ... she was looking for work in the theater, too ... I was surprised by how happy I was to see Mona and we began to see more and more of each other ... I was comfortable with her, a feeliing I had experienced very rarely in my life."
Source: Karl Malden. When Do I Start? A Memoir. 1997. pg. 94.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.