MISS CONGENIALITY star Benjamin Bratt is hoping he'll one day get his screen hero Karl Malden's autograph, after being snubbed by the actor - twice.

Bratt admits he's still scarred by his first meeting with Malden, when the screen veteran was filming his classic TV series THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO.

He says, "People ask me all the time, `Why do you continually play cops?' Recently I (dug) into my deep subconscious and I realised as a kid I suffered some trauma at the hands of one of my TV cop heroes - Karl Malden! He was the man.

"I was about 10-years-old and they were shooting on location at a house in my neighbourhood, and for about three hours me and a bunch of kids waited outside for Karl Malden and Michael Douglas to come out. Finally he emerged and we all gathered around him. I ran up to him and I said, 'Mr Malden! Can I have your autograph please?' (He said), 'Sure kid.' He got into his (car) and drove right off!

"So maybe about five years ago, I ran into an old-time make-up artist who I told the story to and he said, 'That's funny, that doesn't sound like Karl.'

"About a year ago I ran into him again. And he said, 'I got a funny story for you. I actually ran into Karl Malden and I told him that story that you told ' I said, 'Oh yeah? What did he say? Did he have an autograph for me?' He goes, 'No, who the f*** is Benjamin Bratt?' Mr Malden I still admire you!"

25/07/2004 21:28