When Do I Start?

“Malden, writing with his daughter, manages to be personable without baring his soul. He talks about his daunting leap from steel-mill town to Hollywood and proves a competent, clear-eyed witness to a fair chunk of film history — the rise of Marlon Brando, the fall of Montgomery Clift, the blacklist.... Malden's decency shines through on every page.”
— Entertainment Weekly 

“Karl Malden's brilliant memoir, When Do I Start?, written with his daughter Carla, is a terrific read.”
Larry King, USA Today

“Karl Malden's book made me laugh and cry. It's a poignant yet humorous life story of one of the world's best actors. You must read it.”
Kirk Douglas

When Do I Start? stands alone among film star autobiographies in the saga Karl Malden has to tell and the candor with which he tells it. The book reveals Malden precisely as he is: good, decent, idealistic, both ambitious and self-depreciating (often very humorously so) and, far from least, a wonderful story-teller.”
Charles Champlin, LA Times 

“It is touching and suspenseful, funny and anguished, heroic and humble — a wonderful, even classic, America success story that conjures up magic. Above all, it's true and great fun to read.”
 Hume Cronyn 

“The Karl Malden story would grab and hold attention even if he were not a media star. With assistance from daughter Carla, Malden tells his story engagingly and literately. He and Carla write so well together, that they even make the old story of a father who condemns his son's choice of an acting career fresh and interesting. Of course, he lived it.”
 Mike Tribby, Booklist 

“The actor eschews the "down-and-dirty tell-all memoir" so common now to offer his views on the various acting techniques and methods he came upon. Recommended for all collections.”
 Library Journal  

“When Do I Start? Is an unfailingly interesting, engaging and revealing book. However unintentionally, it serves as a useful reminder that in acting, as in all other lines of work, there are more foot soldiers than five-star generals, and that many of them lead lives that are at least as absorbing as those of the stars who attract the most fervent curiosity.” 
Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post 

“An engaging and amiable autobiography by the veteran, Academy Award-winning character actor. Though they labor in the shadows of stars, supporting players are frequently more talented than their top-billed brethren, whose fame and fortune are so often the gift of their looks. Supporting players like Malden have only sheer acting ability going for them. His comments on his preparation as an actor are some of the most interesting parts of this book. His is an inspiring story of perseverance and hard work. As autobiographies by second bananas go, this is among the best of the bunch.” 
Kirkus Reviews 

“Karl Malden is a joy of a man, a joy of an actor, and a joy to read.”
 Maureen Stapleton 

“Karl Malden never negotiated a multi-million-dollar salary. He never demanded designer water for his trailer, or that the director be fired. In fact, he stated every job with just four words: "When do I start?" That's the title of his new memoir, a warm and insightful book about more than 50 years in the business by someone who never had a chance to be the leading man. But along the way, Malden witnessed history being made in the theater, in films and on television  — and made a little history himself.”
 Paige Smoron, Chicago Sun-Times 

“Co-written with daughter Carla, it delivers that celebrity rarity: an engrossing account of a modest, down-to-earth thespian dedicated to his craft and to his family.”
— Misha Berson, Carnegie Hall Stagebill 

“Malden's memoir captures the qualities of his best performances: it's intelligent, gritty, unexpectedly joyful and utterly convincing. Malden, writing here with his screenwriter daughter Carla, comes off as a riveting dinner-table raconteur. He is, in short, a model of wit and self-deprecating charm in these plain-spoken, extremely entertaining recollections.”
Phillip Lopate 

“This is a wonderful book: nostalgic yet clear-eyed, marvelously informative, frequently insightful, often moving, unfailingly endearing, always interesting, and — best of all — thoroughly entertaining. It's trite to say it, but I literally couldn't put When Do I Start?  down. Karl Malden's autobiography is, in addition to being the fascinating chronicle of an all-American life, a veritable between-the-covers film festival: It overflows with intriguing anecdotes — marvelous, revelatory tales of the amazing array of actors, writers, directors, and other assorted characters whose lives have intersected with Malden's over the course of his truly impressive career.

But, perhaps best of all, this book clearly speaks in the author's own thoroughly likable, very American voice: It's down-to-earth, always direct, always truthful, thoughtfully considered, admirably reflective, precisely observant, but never, ever, the least bit mean-spirited or egotistical. This is a book — and a man — to love.

I don't think I've ever enjoyed a film star's memoir more than this one. I recommend When Do I Start? as the perfect present for every movie buff, every theatre lover, every TV fan — even every travelers' cheque user — on anyone's gift list. I suspect that even people who've never heard of Karl Malden (can such exist?) will like his book — and I know that everyone who reads it will want to sit right down in front of the TV with a big bowl of popcorn to watch all the videos of Malden's many marvelous films. 

When Do I Start? is a real find and a real keeper: an admirable, fascinating book by and about an admirable, fascinating man. And oh, yes: It's got lots of great pictures, too!”
 Mary Ellen Kelly, Amazon.com Reviewer 

“Rarely does a celebrity's private life reflect the character of the good guy roles we see them play on the screen. Karl Malden is one such person — a man whose honor and family were and always will be his primary concern. Reading autobiographies gives one a chance to know the true person. I found Karl Malden to be a kind-hearted, fair and honorable family man. I've always enjoyed his work, now, having read his book, I feel I know the man.”
 Stephanie Duncan, Tulsa OK World 

“The mention of Karl Malden today brings to mind the image of the star of "The Streets of San Francisco" on television. And anyone who didn’t watch that probably caught him in the American Express commercial: "Don't leave home without it." When Do I Start? is a fine memoir, no student of the theater should leave his or her library without it.”
 Randy Hall, The Anniston Star 

“The book is a tour though a great career, filled with telling anecdotes and a direct, no-nonsense approach to acting.”
 Peter Lefevre, Beverly Hills  

“Now in this witty, frank, graceful memoir, filled with unforgettable anecdotes of the stage and screen, he writes with uncomplicated directness, insight, and humor of his life as an actor and of the people he worked with. Always the consummate professional, Karl Malden writes of the challenge and the reward of action: "In a profession that is all illusion, it doesn’t leave much room for the actor to have any illusion about himself and continually assess his talents and his shortcomings... just like the writer facing the blank page, the actor starts fresh every single time." His book is as tough, honest, and unsparing as the man himself.”
Book Club Featured Selection 

“This is one of the most interesting "scratch your way to the top of the ladder'' Bios I've ever read. This is stuff you don't get in the Rag Mags, this book is the real deal. Karl Malden was the quintessential Gentleman of Hollywood with panache, respect, dedication and loyalty. I'm going to read it again because I love the ride of reality in the life of a Legend.”
P. A. Sugano, Amazon.com Reviewer