Walter Matthau | Biography

A Giant of an Actor

Distingushed Artist of the 20th Century

Walter Matthau (October 1, 1920 – July 1, 2000) was born Walter John Matthow in the tenements of the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants. He was a child actor in the Yiddish theater, and paid his dues on Broadway, in summer stock, and on television before going on to an illustrious film career.

He won the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his tour-de-force performance as Whiplash Willie Gingrich in “The Fortune Cookie.” He was nominated for an Academy Award twice in the Best Actor category for “The Sunshine Boys” and “Kotch,” and for six Golden Globe Awards, winning for his performance in “The Sunshine Boys.”