Walter Matthau Biography

Walter Matthau photo

Born: October 01, 1920


Date of Birth: Ocober 1, 1920

Born Walter Matuschanskavasky in New York City, Matthau is the son of impoverished Jewish-Russian immigrants who got his start playing bit parts in a Second Avenue Yiddish theatre when he was 11 years old. He excelled in both drama and sports during his highschool years, but it wasn't until after he served his country during World War II that he enrolled in acting classes at New School's Dramatic Workshop.

Matthau began his professional career in summer stock but soon graduated to Broadway where he gradually rose from bit parts to key supporting roles. He achieved sudden stardom on Broadway in 1965 with The Odd Couple in a role Neil Simon wrote specifically for Matthau. Hollywood immediately began capitalizing on his success by casting him in a string of comedies that proved this unattractive, awkward, slouching actor had huge box-office appeal. "Anybody with a bulbous nose and beady eyes looks like me," he says. Critical praise followed closely behind with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in The Fortune Cookie, and nominations for Best Actor in Kotch -- directed by The Odd Couple roomie Jack Lemmon -- and The Sunshine Boys.

The actor died July 1, 2000 in Santa Monica, California, of a heart attack at the age of 79.


Hanging Up(2000)
THe Marriage Fool (1998)
The Odd Couple II(1998)
Out to Sea (1997)
I'm Not Rappaport (1996)
The Grass Harp (1995)
Grumpier Old Men (1995)
I.Q. (1994)
Dennis the Menace (1993)
Grumpy Old Men (1993)
The Incident(1989)
The Couch Trip (1987)
Pirates (1986)
Movers and Shakers (1985)
Survivors (1983)
I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982)
Buddy Buddy (1981)
First Monday in October (1981)
Hopscotch (1980)
Little Miss Marker(1980)
California Suite (1978)
Casey's Shadow (1978)
House Calls (1978)
The Bad News Bears(1976)
The Sunshine Boys (1975)
The Front Page (1974)
The Laughing Policeman (1974)
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
Charley Varrick (1973)
Pete 'N Tillie (1972)
Kotch (1971)
A New Leaf(1971)
Plaza Suite (1971)
Cactus Flower (1969)
Hello, Dolly (1969)
The Odd Couple (1968)
Secret Life of an American Wife (1968)
A Guide for the Married Man (1967)
The Fortune Cookie (1966)
Ensign Pulver (1964)
Fail-Safe (1964)
Who's Got the Action? (1963)
Lonely Are the Brave (1962)
Strangers When We Meet (1960)
King Creole (1958)
A Face in the Crowd (1957)
The Indian Fighter (1955)
The Kentuckian(1955)
Atomic Attack (1950)

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