Walter Matthau Biography (1920-2000)

Original name, Walter Matuschanskavasky; born October 1, 1920, in New York, NY; son of Milton (an electrician) and Rose (Berolsky) Matuschanskavasky; uncle of Juliette Gruber (an actress); married Grace Geraldine Johnson, 1948 (divorced, 1958); married Carol Grace Marcus Saroyan (a writer), August 21, 1959;children: (first marriage) David, Jenny; (second marriage) Charles (a director, producer, and personal manager). Avocational interests: Gambling.Career: Actor, director, and producer. Also worked as a radio operator, file clerk, boxing instructor, basketball coach, and vendor. Affiliated with the Matthau Company. Military service: U.S. Army Air Forces, servedin Europe during World War II, 1942-45; became staff sergeant; received six battle stars. Member: Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild,American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Awards, Honors: New York Drama Critics Circle Award, 1951, for Twilight Walk; New YorkDrama Critics Circle Award, and Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best supporting or featured actor in a play, both 1959, for Once More with Feeling; Antoinette Perry Award, best supporting or featured actor in a play, 1962, for A Shot in the Dark; Film Daily Award, 1962, for LonelyAre the Brave; Antoinette Perry Award, best actor in a play, and New York Drama Critics Circle Award, both 1965, for The Odd Couple; Academy Award, best supporting actor, 1966, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actor--musical/comedy, 1967, both for The Fortune Cookie;Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actor--musical/comedy, 1969, for The Odd Couple; British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award nomination, best actor, 1970, for Hello, Dolly! and The SecretLife of an American Wife; Academy Award nomination, best actor, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actor--musical/comedy, both 1972, for Kotch; Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actor--musical/comedy, 1973, for Pete 'n' Tillie; British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award, 1973, for Pete 'n' Tillie and Charley Varrick; Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actor--musical/comedy, 1975, for The Front Page; Golden Globe Award, best motion picture actor--musical/comedy, and Academy Award nomination, best actor, both 1976, for The Sunshine Boys; British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award nomination, best actor, 1977, for The Sunshine Boys and The Bad News Bears; Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actor--musical/comedy, 1981, for Hopscotch; Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actor--comedy/musical, 1982, for First Monday in October; ShoWest Convention Award, lifetime achievement, 1993; American Comedy Award, lifetime achievement, 1997; Platinum Circle Award (with Carol Matthau and Charles Matthau), American Film Institute, 1997, for family contributions to show business. Addresses: Office: The Matthau Company, 1999 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 2100, Los Angeles, CA 90067-6022.

Nationality
American
Gender
Male
Occupation
Actor, Director, Producer
Birth Details
October 1, 1920
New York, New York, United States
Death Details
July 1, 2000
Santa Monica, California

Famous Works

  • CREDITS
  • Film Appearances
  • Wes Todd, The Indian Fighter, United Artists, 1955
  • Bodine, The Kentuckian, United Artists, 1955
  • Wally, Bigger Than Life, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1956
  • Al Dahlke, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Universal, 1957
  • Mel Miller, A Face in the Crowd, Warner Bros., 1957
  • Judge Kyle, Ride a Crooked Trail, Universal, 1958
  • Red Wildoe, Onionhead, Warner Bros., 1958
  • Maxie Fields, King Creole, Warner Bros., 1958
  • Doctor Leon Karnes, Voice in the Mirror, Universal, 1958
  • Jack Martin, Gangster Story, Releasing Corporation of IndependentProducers, 1959
  • Felix Anders, Strangers When We Meet, Columbia, 1960
  • Sheriff Johnson, Lonely Are the Brave (also known as Last Hero), Universal, 1962
  • Tony Gagoots, Who's Got the Action? (also known Where's the Action?), Paramount, 1962
  • Hamilton Bartholomew and Carson Dyle, Charade, Universal, 1963
  • Tony Dallas, Island of Love (also known as Not on Your Life), Warner Bros., 1963
  • Doc, Ensign Pulver, Warner Bros., 1964
  • Groeteschele, Fail Safe (also known as Fail-Safe), Columbia, 1964
  • Sir Leopold Sartori, Goodbye Charlie, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1964
  • Ted Caselle, Mirage, Universal, 1965
  • Willie Gingrich, The Fortune Cookie (also known as Meet Whiplash Willie), United Artists, 1966
  • Paul Manning, A Guide for the Married Man, Twentieth Century-Fox,1967
  • Charlie (the movie star), The Secret Life of an American Wife, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1968
  • General Smight, Candy (also known as Candy e il suo pazzo mondo), Cinerama, 1968
  • Oscar Madison, The Odd Couple, Paramount, 1968
  • Horace Vandergelder, Hello, Dolly!, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1969
  • Dr. Julian Winston, Cactus Flower, Columbia, 1969
  • Joseph P. Kotcher, Kotch, Cinerama, 1971
  • Henry Graham, A New Leaf, Paramount, 1971
  • Sam Nash, Jesse Kiplinger, and Roy Hubley, Plaza Suite, Paramount,1971
  • Pete Seltzer, Pete 'n' Tillie, Universal, 1972
  • Jake Martin, The Laughing Policeman (also known as An Investigation of Murder), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1973
  • Title role, Charley Varrick, Universal, 1973
  • Lieutenant Garber, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (also knownas The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3), United Artists, 1974
  • Walter Burns, The Front Page, Universal, 1974
  • (As Walter Matuschanskavasky) Drunk man, Earthquake, Universal, 1974
  • Willie Clark, The Sunshine Boys, United Artists, 1975
  • Narrator, The Gentleman Tramp (documentary), Audjeff, 1976
  • Coach Morris Buttermaker, The Bad News Bears, Paramount, 1976
  • Lloyd Bourdelle, Casey's Shadow, Columbia, 1978
  • Marvin Michaels, California Suite (also known as Neil Simon's California Suite), Columbia, 1978
  • Dr. Charley Nichols, House Calls, Universal, 1978
  • Sorrowful Jones, Little Miss Marker, Universal, 1980
  • Miles Kendig, Hopscotch, Avco-Embassy, 1980
  • Portrait of a Sixty-Percent-Perfect Man, 1980
  • Dan Snow, First Monday in October, Paramount, 1981
  • Trabucco, Buddy Buddy, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1981
  • Herbert Tucker, I Ought to Be in Pictures, Twentieth Century-Fox,1982
  • Sonny Paluso, The Survivors, Columbia, 1983
  • Joe Mulholland, Movers and Shakers, United Artists, 1985
  • Captain Thomas Bartholomew Red, Pirates, Cannon, 1986
  • Maurice, Il Piccolo Diavolo (also known as The Little Devil), Cecchi Gori, 1988
  • Donald Becker, The Couch Trip, Orion, 1988
  • Senator Russell Long, JFK, Warner Bros., 1991
  • Max Goldman, Grumpy Old Men, Warner Bros., 1993
  • Mr. Wilson, Dennis the Menace (also known as Dennis), Family Entertainment, 1993
  • Albert Einstein, I.Q., Paramount, 1994
  • Judge Charlie Cool, The Grass Harp, Fine Line Features, 1995
  • Max Goldman, Grumpier Old Men (also known as Grumpy Old Men 2), Warner Bros., 1995
  • Nat Moyer, I'm Not Rappaport, Gramercy Pictures, 1996
  • Charlie Gordon, Out to Sea, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1997
  • Oscar Madison, The Odd Couple II (also known as Neil Simon's The Odd Couple II), Paramount, 1998
  • Lou Mozell (the father), Hanging Up, Columbia, 1999
  • Appeared in Middle of the Street and No Power on Earth.
  • Film Work
  • Director, Gangster Story, Releasing Corporation of Independent Producers, 1959
  • Executive producer, Little Miss Marker, Universal, 1980
  • Television Appearances
  • Series
  • Lex Rogers and narrator, Tallahassee 7000, syndicated, 1961
  • The Shakespeare Hour, PBS, 1986
  • Movies
  • Clifford, Mrs. Lambert Remembers Love (also known as Running Out), CBS, 1991
  • Harmon Cobb, Against Her Will: An Incident in Baltimore (also known as Cobb's Law: Incident in Baltimore), CBS, 1992
  • Harmon Cobb, Incident in a Small Town (also known as Family Secret: The Incident in a Small Town), CBS, 1994
  • Frank Walsh, The Marriage Fool, CBS, 1998
  • Specials
  • Carol Channing and 101 Men, ABC, 1967
  • Super Comedy Bowl 2, CBS, 1972
  • A Show Business Salute to Milton Berle, NBC, 1973
  • The George Burns Special, CBS, 1976
  • Voice, The Stingiest Man in Town, NBC, 1978
  • I Love Liberty, ABC, 1982
  • Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter, 1982
  • George Burns' 90th Birthday Special, 1986
  • The American Film Institute Salute to Billy Wilder, 1986
  • A Beverly Hills Christmas, 1987
  • The American Film Institute Salute to Barbara Stanwyck, 1987
  • James Stewart: A Wonderful Life, 1987
  • We the People 200: The Constitutional Gala, CBS, 1987
  • The American Film Institute Salute to Jack Lemmon, 1988
  • "Neil Simon: Not Just for Laughs" (also known as "Simply Simon: A Neil Simon Retrospective" and "Neil Simon: Simply Simon"), American Masters,PBS, 1989
  • Harmon Cobb, "The Incident" (also known as "Incident at Lincoln Bluff" and "Incident at Bremen"), AT&T Presents, CBS, 1990
  • Laurel and Hardy: A Tribute to the Boys, The Disney Channel, 1992
  • A Menace Called Dennis, CBS, 1993
  • The First Annual Comedy Hall of Fame, NBC, 1993
  • Elvis: His Life and Times, syndicated, 1993
  • "What Is This Thing Called Love?," The Barbara Walters Special, ABC, 1993
  • Jack Lemmon, PBS, 1996
  • The G.I. Bill: The Law that Changed America, PBS, 1997
  • Narrator, Billy Wilder: The Human Comedy, PBS, 1998
  • Private Screenings: Lemmon and Matthau, Turner Classic Movies, 1998
  • Awards Presentations
  • Master of ceremonies, The 48th Annual Academy Awards Presentation,1976
  • The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 1986
  • The First Annual American Comedy Awards, 1987
  • The Second Annual American Comedy Awards, 1988
  • The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1989
  • The Third Annual American Comedy Awards, ABC, 1989
  • The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 1990
  • The 16th Annual People's Choice Awards, CBS, 1990
  • The 62nd Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1990
  • The Movie Awards, CBS, 1991
  • The 48th Annual Golden Globe Awards, TBS, 1991
  • The First Annual Comedy Hall of Fame, 1993
  • Presenter, The 20th Annual People's Choice Awards, CBS, 1994
  • Presenter, The 21st Annual People's Choice Awards, 1995
  • Presenter, The 70th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1998
  • Episodic
  • "Last Cruise," Studio One, CBS, 1950
  • "The Basket Weaver," Philco Television Playhouse, NBC, 1952
  • "Should Doctors Ever Marry?," Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, CBS, 1952
  • "The Death of Kid Slawson," Kraft Television Theatre, NBC, 1952
  • "The Straight Forward Narrow," Armstrong Circle Theater (also known as Circle Theater), NBC, 1952
  • "A Buck Is a Buck," Danger, CBS, 1952
  • "Tour of Duty," Philco Television Playhouse, NBC, 1952
  • "Three Sundays," Goodyear Playhouse, NBC, 1952
  • "Wonder in Your Eyes," The Campbell Television Soundstage, NBC, 1953
  • "Nightmare Number Three," Plymouth Playhouse, ABC, 1953
  • "F.O.B. Vienna," Suspense, CBS, 1953
  • "Hand Me Down," Danger, CBS, 1953
  • "Nothing to Sneeze At," Goodyear Playhouse, NBC, 1953
  • "The New Process," Goodyear Playhouse, NBC, 1953
  • Iago, "Othello," Philco Television Playhouse, NBC, 1953
  • "Dry Run," Studio One, CBS, 1953
  • "The Glorification of Al Toolum," Philco Television Playhouse, NBC, 1953
  • "The Cipher," Goodyear Television Playhouse, NBC, 1953
  • "Night of Reckoning," Danger, CBS, 1954
  • "Adapt or Die," Philco Television Playhouse, NBC, 1954
  • "Flight Report," Goodyear Playhouse, NBC, 1954
  • "Late Date," The U.S. Steel Hour, ABC, 1954
  • "Atomic Attack," The Motorola Television Hour, ABC, 1954
  • "The Human Touch," Center Stage, NBC, 1954
  • "Dr. Ed," Robert Montgomery Presents (also known as Lucky Strike Theater), NBC, 1954
  • "Walk into the Night," Philco Television Playhouse, NBC, 1955
  • "The Lost Weekend," Robert Montgomery Presents (also known as Lucky Strike Theater), NBC, 1955
  • "A Westerner's Race Prejudice," Robert Montgomery Presents (also known as Lucky Strike Theater), NBC, 1955
  • "Booby Trap," Justice, NBC, 1955
  • "The Big Vote," The Alcoa Hour, NBC, 1956
  • "A Will to Live," Goodyear Playhouse, NBC, 1957
  • "The Legacy," Goodyear Playhouse, NBC, 1957
  • "The Trouble with Women," The Alcoa Hour, NBC, 1957
  • "To Walk the Night," Climax, CBS, 1957
  • "Code of the Corner," Kraft Television Theatre, NBC, 1958
  • Officer Chandler, "The Crooked Road," Alfred Hitchcock Presents, CBS, 1958
  • Moran, "Dry Run," Alfred Hitchcock Presents, CBS, 1959
  • "Juno and the Paycock," Play of the Week, syndicated, 1960
  • "The Rope Dancers," Play of the Week, syndicated, 1960
  • Harry Wade, "Very Moral Theft," Alfred Hitchcock Presents, NBC, 1960
  • "My Heart's in the Highlands," Play of the Week, syndicated, 1960
  • "Born a Giant," Our American Heritage, NBC, 1960
  • Sam, "The Man Who Bit the Diamond in Half," Naked City, ABC, 1960
  • "Eleven, the Hard Way," Route 66, CBS, 1961
  • "The Million Dollar Dump," Target: The Corrupters, ABC, 1961
  • Phil, "Cop for a Day," Alfred Hitchcock Presents, NBC, 1961
  • "One for the Road," Target: The Corrupters, ABC, 1962
  • "Footnote to Fame," Westinghouse Playhouse, CBS, 1962
  • "Acres and Pains," General Electric Theater (also known as G. E. Theater), CBS, 1962
  • "Big Deal in Laredo," Du Pont Show of the Month, NBC, 1962
  • "Don't Knock It 'till You've Tried It," Naked City, ABC, 1962
  • "A Tumble from a High White Horse," Eleventh Hour, NBC, 1963
  • "A Dozen Deadly Roses," Du Pont Show of the Month, NBC, 1963
  • "The Takers," Du Pont Show of the Month, NBC, 1963
  • "White Snow, Red Ice," Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater, NBC, 1964
  • "Jeremy Rabbitt, the Secret Avenger," Du Pont Show of the Month, NBC, 1964
  • "The Personal Touch," The Rogues, NBC, 1964
  • "Man Is Rock," Dr. Kildare, NBC, 1964
  • "Governor John M. Slaton," Profiles in Courage, NBC, 1964
  • "Andrew Johnson," Profiles in Courage, NBC, 1965
  • "Awake and Sing," Hollywood Television Theatre, PBS, 1972
  • "This Side of Eden," Insight, syndicated, 1977
  • "Actor," Hollywood Television Theatre, PBS, 1978
  • Reflections on the Silver Screen with Professor Richard Brown, syndicated, 1990
  • "Jack Lemmon: America's Everyman," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 1996
  • "Neil Simon: The People's Playwright," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 1999
  • Appeared in "Diamond in the Rough," Biography, Arts and Entertainment; and in Saturday Night Live (also known as NBC's Saturday Night, Saturday Night, and SNL), NBC.
  • Pilots
  • Tom Dutton, Acres and Pains, CBS, 1965
  • Stage Appearances
  • Ten Nights in a Bar Room, Erie County Playhouse, Erie, PA, 1946
  • Sadovsky, The Aristocrats, President Theatre, New York City, 1946
  • First soldier, The Flies, President Theatre, 1947
  • Bishop Fisher, Anne of a Thousand Days, Shubert Theatre, New YorkCity, 1948
  • Venetian guard, The Liar, Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 1950
  • John Colgate, Season in the Sun, Cort Theatre, New York City, 1951
  • Sam Dundee, Twilight Walk, Fulton Theatre, New York City, 1951
  • Sinclair Heybore, Fancy Meeting You Again, Royale Theatre, New York City, 1952
  • George Lawrence, One Bright Day, Royale Theatre, 1952
  • Charlie Hill, In Any Language, Cort Theatre, 1952
  • John Hart, The Grey-Eyed People, Martin Beck Theatre, New York City, 1952
  • Paul Osgood, The Ladies of the Corridor, Longacre Theatre, New York City, 1953
  • Tony Lack, The Burning Glass, Longacre Theatre, 1954
  • Yancy Loper, The Wisteria Trees, City Center Theatre, New York City, 1955
  • Nathan Detroit, Guys and Dolls, City Center Theatre, 1955
  • Michael Freeman, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, Belasco Theatre,New York City, 1955
  • Odysseus, Maiden Voyage, Forrest Theatre, Philadelphia, PA, 1957
  • Maxwell Archer, Once More with Feeling, National Theatre, New YorkCity, 1958
  • Potemkin, Once There Was a Russian, Music Box Theatre, New York City, 1961
  • Benjamin Beaurevers, A Shot in the Dark, Booth Theatre, New York City, 1961
  • Herman Halpern, My Mother, My Father, and Me, Plymouth Theatre, New York City, 1963
  • Oscar Madison, The Odd Couple, Plymouth Theatre, 1965
  • Captain Jack Boyle, Juno and the Paycock, Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, CA, 1974
  • Appeared in productions of the Second Avenue Yiddish Theatre, New York City.
  • Major Tours
  • The Glass Menagerie, U.S. cities, 1952
  • Andrew Lamb, A Certain Joy, U.S. cities, 1953
  • RECORDINGS
  • Taped Readings
  • "Chava," Jewish Stories from Eastern Europe and Beyond, National Yiddish Book Center (South Hadley, MA), 1995

Further Reference

OTHER SOURCES

    Periodicals:
    • Interview, January 1996, pp. 26-27.
    • People Weekly, September 23, 1996, p. 20; June 30, 1997, p. 41.*

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