Malvin Wald, a screenwriter who was nominated for an Academy Award for the 1948 movie “The Naked City,” died March 6 in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 90.
Wald wrote dozens of scripts for motion pictures and TV shows including “Peter Gunn,” “Daktari” and “Perry Mason.”
He wrote the story for “The Naked City,” then co-wrote the screenplay with Albert Maltz, who was one of the “Hollywood 10” of blacklisted writers during the McCarthy era.
“The Naked City” was a groundbreaking, gritty drama, filmed on location in New York, about police investigating a murder. It ended with the now-famous line: “There are 8 million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.”
Wald, a Brooklyn native, researched the story by following real New York homicide detectives.
In addition to Wald’s nomination, the movie won two Oscars for film editing and cinematography. It also spawned a popular television show of the same name that aired from 1958 to 1963 and inspired countless others.
“What we see all over our TV screens today originated in large part in that movie,” film historian Leonard Maltin told the Los Angeles Times on Friday. “It was a novelty then, deglamorizing Hollywood’s depiction of crime-solving, taking it out of the hands of glamorous or exotic private investigators and following the day-to-day, mundane activities of the police.”
During World War II, Wald was in the Army Air Forces and helped make more than 30 training and recruitment films in Culver City. He also taught screenwriting at the University of Southern California.
Wald is survived by a son and a daughter.