An exceptional athlete and baseball prodigy, Malis dominated opponents as a pitcher for his high school baseball team in Philadelphia. At the tender young age of 15, he won 15 of 19 games and once struck out 22 batters in a game. He ultimately enjoyed the proverbial “cup of coffee” in the big leagues, pitching in a single game for his hometown Philadelphia Phillies in 1934. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and sustained a severe injury when a gun mount swung around and broke his back. Following extensive rehabilitation and a period of drug dependency, he reinvented himself as a Hollywood actor, appearing in several films and even appearing in the Perry Mason TV series.