The Early Life of Walter Matthau
Walter Matthau was born on October 1, 1920, in New York City. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia and he grew up in poverty. His father was a peddler and his mother worked in a sweatshop. Despite his difficult upbringing, Matthau developed a love for acting and began performing in local theater productions.
He studied at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York City and served in the US Army Air Forces during World War II. After the war, he continued pursuing his acting career and eventually landed his first Broadway role in 1948.
The Classic Films of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon
Matthau is perhaps best known for his collaborations with actor Jack Lemmon. The two starred in several classic films together, including “The Odd Couple,” “The Fortune Cookie,” and “Grumpy Old Men.”
Their on-screen chemistry was undeniable and their comedic timing was impeccable. Matthau’s gruff and grumpy persona perfectly complemented Lemmon’s neurotic and anxious character, making them one of the most beloved comedic duos in film history.
The Personal Life of Walter Matthau
Matthau was married twice and had two children. His first marriage to Grace Geraldine Johnson ended in divorce, and he later married Carol Marcus, with whom he had a son named Charles and a daughter named Jenny.
Matthau was also known for his love of gambling and was a regular at Las Vegas casinos. Despite his reputation as a ladies’ man, he remained devoted to his second wife until her death in 2003.
The Political Affiliations of Walter Matthau
Matthau was a lifelong Democrat and actively supported liberal causes. He was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War and was a supporter of civil rights and environmental protection.
He even ran for office himself, unsuccessfully campaigning for a seat in the California State Assembly in 1952. Despite his defeat, he remained politically active throughout his life and was a respected voice in the Democratic Party.
The Legacy of Walter Matthau
Matthau’s contributions to film and theater have left a lasting impact on the entertainment industry. He received numerous awards for his performances, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “The Fortune Cookie.”
His collaborations with Jack Lemmon are still celebrated and beloved by audiences today. Matthau’s legacy also extends beyond the world of entertainment, as he was a passionate advocate for social justice and political change.