Walter Matthau

Walter Matthau

Original Name Walter John Matthow
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 1 Jul 2000 (aged 79)
Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Chapel Garden Estate
Memorial ID 10234 · View Source
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Actor. Initially a character performer, he rose to leading man during the 1970s, played a wide variety of roles from villains to lovable, gruff characters. He was starred with actor Jack Lemmon and became associated with playwright Neil Simon’s works. Born Walter John Matthow to Russian Jewish immigrants, he was raised in New York City, New York’s Lower East Side. His first experience at acting was a small part in a Yiddish Theater play for which was followed by his participation in high school stage productions. Following service as a radioman and gunner aboard a bomber with the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, he enrolled at the Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research in New York City and studied under legendary theater director Erwin Piscator. He acquired experience in summer stock productions and marked his Broadway debut in the production “Anne of a Thousand Days” (1948). He made his motion picture debut in the film “The Kentuckian” (1955) and followed this over the next five years with “King Creole” (1958), “Gangster Story” (1959) and “Strangers When We Met” (1960). On Broadway, Matthau continued to build his star status as he appeared in “Guys and Dolls” (1955) and “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” (1955). He received a Tony Award nomination for “Once More with Feeling” (1958) and earned a Tony Award for “A Shot in the Dark” (1961). Matthau received a second Tony Award for his origination of the character ‘Oscar Madison’ in Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” (1965) and repeated the role in the 1968 movie adaptation for which co-starred Jack Lemmon. He shared the screen with Lemmon in “The Fortune Cookie” (1966) and received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. During the filming of the movie, he suffered a massive heart attack. After this event, he decided to cut down on his stage performances and focus fully on films for which he believed were less strenuous. He received further Oscar nominations for “Kotch” (1971) and “The Sunshine Boys” (1975). Matthau showed great versatility and experienced his most successful decade during the 1970s with such films as “A New Leaf” (1971), “Plaza Suite” (1971), “Pete ‘n’ Tillie” (1972), “Charley Varrick “(1973), “The Laughing Policeman” (1974), “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974), “The Bad News Bears” (1976) and “House Calls” (1978). Among his other pictures include “Lonely Are the Brave” (1962), “Charade” (1963), “Fail Safe” (1964) “Ensign Pulver” (1964), “Mirage” (1965), “A Guide for the Married Man” (1967), “Hello, Dolly!” (1968), Cactus Flower” (1969), “Front Page” (1974), “Buddy Buddy” (1981), “The Survivors” (1983), “Pirates” (1986), “Denise the Menace” (1993), “Grumpy Old Men” (1993), “I.Q.” (1994), “Grumpier Old Men” (1995), “Out To Sea” (1997) and “The Odd Couple II” (1998). Matthau received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1982. He died from heart related issues and is buried at Westwood Memorial Park not far from his longtime co-star and friend Lemmon.

Bio by: C.S.

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 2 Jul 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 10234
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Walter Matthau (1 Oct 1920–1 Jul 2000), Find a Grave Memorial no. 10234, citing Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .