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Walter Matthau

Walter Matthau

Walter Matthau has appeared in nearly 70 motion pictures in a distinguished career in film, theater and television that spans over 50 years. He has been nominated for two Best Actor Academy Awards® for The Sunshine Boys and Kotch and received a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award® for The Fortune Cookie. He has also been nominated for six Golden Globe Awards, winning for his performance in The Sunshine Boys.

He continues to be a solid box-office draw as evidenced by his more recent roles in The Odd Couple II, Out to Sea, I.Q., Grumpy Old Men and its sequel, Grumpier Old Men.

Matthau began his career studying at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York City. He then went on to Broadway, where he made his debut in 1948 in Anne of the Thousand Days. His numerous stage appearances include Season in the Sun, The Burning Glass and In Any Language. He won the New York Drama Critics Award for Once More With Feeling.

He made his movie debut in 1955's The Kentuckian and followed up with roles in The Indian Fighter, A Face in the Crowd, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Ride a Crooked Trail and King Creole.

In the early 1960s, his screen appearances included Strangers When We Meet, Gangster Story (which he also directed), Lonely Are The Brave, Fail-Safe, Goodbye Charlie and Mirage.

In 1962, his role on Broadway in A Shot in the Dark brought Matthau his first Tony Award, winning for Best Supporting Actor. He received his second Tony Award, this time for Best Actor, in Neil Simon's The Odd Couple.

In 1966, Matthau starred with Jack Lemmon for the first time in Billy Wilder's biting comedy, The Fortune Cookie. Established as one of Hollywood's elite performers and box-office draws, he starred in one feature after another, among them A Guide for the Married Man, a repeat of his Broadway success in the filmed version of The Odd Couple, Cactus Flower, Hello, Dolly!, A New Leaf, Plaza Suite, Kotch, Pete 'n' Tillie and The Front Page. He followed The Sunshine Boys with The Bad News Bears, House Calls, California Suite, Hopscotch, First Monday in October, Buddy Buddy, I Ought To Be in Pictures, The Survivors and JFK.

More recently, he starred in The Grass Harp, directed by his son Charlie; the filmed version of the 1985 play I'm Not Rappaport, co-starring Ossie Davis; and Dennis the Menace, based on the long-running Hank Ketcham comic strip. He also appeared opposite Carol Burnett in the 1998 telefilm The Marriage Fool.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2000.

Walter Matthau Facts

Birth NameWalter Matuschanskavasky
BirthdayOctober 1, 1920
BirthplaceNew York, New York, USA
Date of deathJuly 1, 2000 (age 79)
Height6' 3" (1m91)  How tall is Walter Matthau compared to you?
Awards1976 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (for The Sunshine Boys)
1967 Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor (for The Fortune Cookie)

Selected Filmography

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
Grumpy Old Men
Grumpier Old Men
Dennis the Menace
The Great Man: W.C. Fields
Hanging Up
Hello, Dolly!
Hello, Dolly! Widescreen Edition
Hollywood Collection: Jack Lemmon: America's Everyman
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