Walter Matthau Biography

Birthday: 1920-10-01
Place of Birth: New York City, New York
Height: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
Wiki Biography: Born Walter Matthow on October 1, 1920, to a pair of Russian-Jewish immigrants in New York City, Matthau grew up in poverty on the Lower East Side and started out selling soft drinks and playing bit parts at a Yiddish theater troupe at age 11. He was paid 50 cents for each of his occasional on-stage appearances. His father, a peddler from Kiev, left home when he was 3 years old. He lived with his older brother, Henry, and their mother, a garment worker, on the Lower East Side of New York. After graduating from Seward Park High School during the Depression, he took government jobs as a forest ranger in Montana, a gym instructor for the Works Progress Administration, and a boxing coach for policemen. During World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps as a radio cryptographer in a heavy bomber unit in Europe and returned home a sergeant with six battle stars. In 1948, his first Broadway role was when he was hired as an understudy for the role of an 83 year old English bishop in 'Anne of the Thousand Days' starring Rex Harrison. His fame came with The Fortune Cookie (1966) and The Odd Couple (1968). While making the former, he suffered a serious heart attack. This was due to heavy smoking and chronic gambling. Matthau immediately quit smoking and began a life-long regime of walking 2-5 miles per day. Matthau's acting career continued to flourish for the next 30 years with him playing memorable lead and supporting characters in both dramatic and comic films, several of them alongside Jack Lemmon. Unbeknownst to his fans, Matthau continued to battle heart disease and was later diagnosed with two forms of cancer. In 1976, he had heart bypass surgery. In 1993, he was hospitalized for double pneumonia. In 1995, he had a benign colon tumor removed. In 1999, he was hospitalized again for pneumonia where he was diagnosed again with cancer. Walter Matthau died on July 1, 2000, at age 79.

Walter MatthauPhotos & Pictures

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TV Title Appeared As Year Genre
Kraft Television Theatre Harry 1947 - 1958
Alcoa Hour 1955 Drama
Dennis the Menace Mr. George Wilson 1959 - 1963 Comedy
The DuPont Show of the Week 1961 Comedy
Profiles in Courage Andrew Johnson 1964 Drama
The Odd Couple Oscar Madison 1968 Comedy
The Front Page Walter Burns 1974 Comedy
The Bad News Bears Coach Morris Buttermaker 1976 Comedy
House Calls 1978 Comedy
Grumpy Old Men Max Goldman 2003 - Comedy
Movies Title Appeared As Year Genre
The Mob 1951
The Kentuckian 1955 Drama
A Face in the Crowd 1957
Onionhead 1958 0
Strangers When We Meet 1960 Drama, Romance
Lonely are the Brave 1962 Drama
Who's Got the Action? Tony Gagoots 1963
Charade Hamilton Bartholemew 1963 Biography
Ensign Pulver Doc 1964 Comedy, Drama
Goodbye Charlie 1964 Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Fail-Safe Groeteschele 1965 Adventure, Drama, Thriller
Mirage Ted Caselle 1966
The Fortune Cookie Willie Gingrich 1966 Comedy, Romance
A Guide for the Married Man 1967 Comedy, Romance
Odd Couple Oscar Madison 1968 Comedy, Romance
The Odd Couple Oscar Madison 1968 Comedy, Romance
Cactus Flower Dr. Julian Winston 1969 0
Hello Dolly! Horace Vandergelder 1969 Romance, Comedy, Musical
A New Leaf 1971 Biography
Plaza Suite 1971 Comedy, Drama
Kotch Joseph P. Kotcher 1971 Comedy, Drama
Pete 'n' Tillie Pete 1972
Charley Varrick Charley Varrick 1973
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Lt. Zachary Garber 1974 0, Comedy
The Front Page Walter Burns 1974 Biography, 0
The Laughing Policeman Sgt. Jake Martin SFPD 1974 Crime, Drama, Thriller
Earthquake 1974 Action, Drama, Thriller
The Sunshine Boys Willy Clark 1976 Comedy
California Suite 1978 Comedy, Romance
The Stingiest Man In Town Ebenezer Scrooge 1978 Animation, Musical, Drama
Hopscotch 1980 Adventure, Comedy
First Monday in October 1981 0
Buddy Buddy Trabucco 1981 Comedy
I Ought to Be in Pictures 1982 Comedy, Drama
The Survivors 1983 0, 0
Movers & Shakers Joe Mulholland 1985
Pirates Capt. Thomas Bartholomew Red 1986
The Couch Trip 1988 Comedy
Il piccolo diavolo Maurice 1988 Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Dennis the Menace Mr. George Wilson 1993 Comedy, Family
Grumpy Old Men Max Goldman 1993 Comedy, Drama
I.Q. Albert Einstein 1994 Comedy, Romance
Grumpier Old Men Max Goldman 1995 Comedy, Romance
The Grass Harp Judge Charlie Cool 1996 Drama, Comedy
I'm Not Rappaport Nat Moyer 1996
Out to Sea 1997 Biography
The Odd Couple II Oscar Madison 1998 Adventure, Comedy
The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg 1999
Hanging Up Lou Mozell 2000