IMDb > The Fortune Cookie (1966)
The Fortune Cookie
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The Fortune Cookie (1966) More at IMDbPro »

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Billy Wilder (written by) &
I.A.L. Diamond (written by)
View company contact information for The Fortune Cookie on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 October 1966 (USA) See more »
A crooked lawyer persuades his brother-in-law to feign a serious injury. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Won Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations See more »
(24 articles)
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User Reviews:
One Bottom Feeding Lawyer See more (61 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jack Lemmon ... Harry Hinkle

Walter Matthau ... Willie Gingrich
Ron Rich ... Luther 'Boom Boom' Jackson

Judi West ... Sandy Hinkle

Cliff Osmond ... Purkey

Lurene Tuttle ... Mother Hinkle

Harry Holcombe ... O'Brien

Les Tremayne ... Thompson
Lauren Gilbert ... Kincaid

Marge Redmond ... Charlotte Gingrich
Noam Pitlik ... Max
Harry Davis ... Dr. Krugman

Ann Shoemaker ... Sister Veronica
Maryesther Denver ... Nurse

Ned Glass ... Doc Schindler

Sig Ruman ... Professor Winterhalter

Archie Moore ... Mr. Jackson

Howard McNear ... Mr. Cimoli

William Christopher ... Intern (as Bill Christopher)

Bartlett Robinson ... Specialist #1
Robert P. Lieb ... Specialist #2
Martin Blaine ... Specialist #3

Ben Wright ... Specialist #4
Dodie Heath ... Nun

Herbie Faye ... Maury, the Equipment Man
Billy Beck ... Maury's Assistant

Judy Pace ... Elvira

Helen Kleeb ... The Lawyers' Receptionist

Lisa Linsky ... Ginger Gingrich (as Lisa Jill)
John Todd Roberts ... Jeffrey Gingrich
Keith Jackson ... Football Announcer
Herbert Ellis ... TV Director (as Herb Ellis)
Don Reed ... Newscaster
Louise Vienna ... Girl on TV

Robert DoQui ... Man in Bar (as Bob DoQui)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

John Anderson ... Abraham Lincoln (uncredited)

Jim Brown ... Running Back - Number 32 (archive footage) (uncredited)
Leroy Kelly ... Running Back #44 (archive footage) (uncredited)
Jon Silo ... Tailor (uncredited)

Directed by
Billy Wilder 
Writing credits
Billy Wilder (written by) &
I.A.L. Diamond (written by)

Produced by
I.A.L. Diamond .... associate producer
Doane Harrison .... associate producer
Billy Wilder .... producer
Original Music by
André Previn  (as Andre Previn)
Cinematography by
Joseph LaShelle  (as Joseph La Shelle)
Film Editing by
Daniel Mandell 
Casting by
Lynn Stalmaster 
Art Direction by
Robert Luthardt 
Set Decoration by
Edward G. Boyle 
Makeup Department
Loren Cosand .... makeup artist
Alice Monte .... hair stylist
Jack Petty .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Patrick J. Palmer .... unit manager
Allen K. Wood .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jack N. Reddish .... assistant director
Michael S. Glick .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Frank Agnone .... property master
Duncan A. Spencer .... scenic artist
Mentor Huebner .... production illustrator (uncredited)
Sound Department
Wayne Fury .... sound editor
Robert Martin .... sound
Buddy Myers .... sound re-recordist
Terrance Emerson .... sound cable (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Sass Bedig .... special effects
Howard Curtis .... stunts (uncredited)
Roy Jenson .... stunts (uncredited)
John Moio .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Felix Barlow .... camera operator (uncredited)
Elmer Faubion .... camera operator (uncredited)
Robert Hoffman .... camera operator (uncredited)
Bill Norton .... camera operator (uncredited)
Al St. Hilaire .... still photographer (uncredited)
Don Stott .... gaffer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Charles Arrico .... wardrobe (as Chuck Arrico)
Paula Giokaris .... wardrobe
Music Department
Richard Carruth .... music editor
Other crew
Marshall J. Wolins .... script supervisor (as Marshall Wolins)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Meet Whiplash Willie" - Ireland (English title) (imdb display title), UK
See more »
125 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

The Browns' poor performance in the game prompted Cleveland fans to boo quarterback Frank Ryan. At a press conference afterwards, Billy Wilder stated, "...after my last picture, I know how [team owner Art] Modell feels. But he shouldn't worry. There'll be further disasters."See more »
Continuity: During the football game in which Harry is injured, the Browns are playing the Minnesota Vikings. On Boom-Boom's punt return, however, the opponents are the Philadelphia Eagles.See more »
Willie Gingrich:I'm his brother-in-law, Sister. And this is his mother, Sister, and this is my wife, his sister, Sister.See more »
Movie Connections:
References "Candid Camera" (1960/I)See more »
You'd Be So Nice to Come Home ToSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
15 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
One Bottom Feeding Lawyer, 16 December 2006
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

In The Fortune Cookie, Billy Wilder took on the great American legal system and twisted a lot of laughs out of it. It's the underside of the great American dream, sue someone with deep pockets and you can be a millionaire. It's why we have too many lawyers in our society, it's what creates Willie Gingrich.

In three previous Wilder pictures folks like Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity, William Holden in Sunset Boulevard, and Kirk Douglas in Ace in the Hole all had some similar notions about a get rich and/or famous quick scheme and they all ended in tragedy. Interesting that protagonist Jack Lemmon as TV cameraman Harry Hinkle has more strength of character than those three before him.

Not at first though. Jack Lemmon is a TV cameraman who is covering a Cleveland Browns football game in Municipal Stadium when running back Ron Rich takes him out when Rich goes out of bounds. That's where attorney and brother-in-law of Lemmon, Walter Matthau hears about a previous spinal injury Lemmon sustained and he hatches a scheme involving Lemmon who is supposed to now act paralyzed so he can sue CBS, Municipal Stadium, and the Cleveland Browns for as much as he can wring out of them.

Matthau won his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor playing bottom feeding lawyer, Whiplash Willie Gingrich. With that kind of nickname in the profession it's no wonder that the white shoe firm representing the defending parties goes all out to trip him up. They get private detective Cliff Osmond to shadow Lemmon night and day. The results he gets from his surveillance are not unexpected, but a lot of laughs come along with them.

Matthau is so good as Gingrich that you can literally see his mind at work as he hears about Lemmon's childhood fractured vertebrae from his wife who is Lemmon's sister. Watching his kids skateboarding in the hospital waiting room you kind of wonder what kind of ethics he's been teaching them at home. Note that when you last see Willie Gingrich in the film, he's down, but not yet out.

There's a couple of other good performances here. Ron Rich as the Brown halfback who really is concerned that he permanently paralyzed Jack Lemmon. Also Judi West as Lemmon's ex-wife who when she hears about Lemmon's possible windfall, she's ready to reconcile with him. Matthau is ready to use her of course, but even he gets kind of put off with her ethics. This is also the farewell performance of Sig Ruman, who Billy Wilder liked to use when he could, both of them being refugees from Hitler. Ruman is one of the specialists brought in and the only one who's not fooled by Lemmon's performance.

The Fortune Cookie even after 40 years still has plenty of laughs for this generation. That is sadly because this is part of the American legal system that if anything has increased exponentially since 1966.

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