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Walter Matthau (1920–2000)

Matthau was born Walter Matthow on October 1, 1920 in New York City, to a Lithuanian Jewish mother, Rose (Berolsky), who worked in a garment sweatshop, and a Russian Jewish father, Milton Matthow, a peddler and electrician from Kiev. Matthau grew up in poverty on the Lower East Side. He started out selling soft drinks and playing bit parts at a ... See full bio »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

Known For


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 1996 I'm Not Rappaport
Nat Moyer
 1991 JFK
Senator Long
 1988 Il piccolo diavolo
 1988 The Couch Trip
Donald Becker
 1985 Movers & Shakers
Joe Mulholland
 1982 I Ought to Be in Pictures
Herbert Tucker
 1981 First Monday in October
Dan Snow
 1978 Casey's Shadow
Lloyd Bourdelle
 1978 House Calls
Dr. Charley Nichols
 1974 Earthquake
Drunk (as Walter Matuschanskayasky)
 1972 Pete 'n' Tillie
 1971 Plaza Suite
Roy Hubley / Jesse Kiplinger / Sam Nash
 1968 Candy
Gen. R.A. Smight
 1968 The Secret Life of an American Wife
The Movie Star
 1967 A Guide for the Married Man
Paul Manning
 1964 Goodbye Charlie
Sir Leopold Sartori
 1963 Island of Love
Tony Dallas
 1962 Who's Got the Action?
Tony Gagouts
 1962 Lonely Are the Brave
Sheriff Morey Johnson
 1960 Strangers When We Meet
Felix Anders
 1959 Gangster Story
Jack Martin
 1958 Onionhead
'Red' Wildoe
 1958 Ride a Crooked Trail
Judge Kyle
 1958 Voice in the Mirror
Dr. Leon Karnes
 1958 King Creole
Maxie Fields
 1957 Slaughter on Tenth Avenue
Al Dahlke
 1956 Bigger Than Life
Wally Gibbs
 1955 The Indian Fighter
Wes Todd
 1955 The Kentuckian
Stan Bodine
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Show Show Thanks: Documentary (1 credit)
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Show Show Self: TV (94 credits)
Show Show Self: Documentary (6 credits)
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Personal Details

Other Works:

Stage Play: Guys and Dolls. Musical comedy (revival). Based on a story and characters by Damon Runyon. Lyrics by Frank Loesser. Music by Frank Loesser. Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. Musical Director: Frederick Dvonch. Orchestral Arrangements by George Bassman and Ted Royal. Vocal Arranger and Direction by Herbert Greene. ... See more »

Publicity Listings:

1 Print Biography | 1 Portrayal | 1 Interview | 11 Articles | 3 Pictorials | See more »

Alternate Names:

Mr. Walter Matthau | Walter Matuschanskayasky


6' 2½" (1.89 m)

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

[on Barbra Streisand] I had no disagreement with Barbra Streisand. I was merely exasperated at her tendency to be a complete megalomaniac. See more »


Brought to the St. John's Health Center by ambulance after suffering a heart attack and was pronounced dead shortly afterward at 1:42 a.m. See more »


Craggy, hangdog face See more »



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All time Funniest Walter Matthau Lines.... pinkywafer
looking for movie recommendations LC03
Did I just see Walter Matthau in a bit part in 'Some Like It Hot'? mswatlanta
was The Sunshine Boys aimed at an older audience w-thomson
Nixon? nostalgic_nonconformist
Favorite Matthau Moment janetdesapio
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