Walter John Matthow was born on the 1st October 1920, in New York City, USA, of Lithuanian-Jewish (mother) and Rusiisan-Jewish(father) descent. He was a comedian and actor, who was known for starring in over 100 film and TV titles, such as appearing in the role of Billy Wilder in “The Fortune Cookie” (1966), playing Oscar Madison in “The Odd Couple” (1968), and as Max Goldman in “Grumpy Old Men” (1993). His career was active from 1944 to 2000, when he passed away.
So, have you ever wondered how rich Walter Matthau was? It was estimated that the total size of Walter’s net worth was over $10 million; the sum was accumulated through his successful involvement in the film industry.
Walter Matthau Net Worth $10 Million
Walter Matthau spent his childhood in New York City’s Lower East Side, where he was raised in a Jewish family by his mother, Rose, who made clothing, and his father, Milton Matthow, who was an electrician. Bright and talented, he carried his love for acting through attending Tranquillity Camp, a Jewish non-profit sleepaway camp, where he beganto perform; parallel with that, he also went to Surprise Lake Camp. He matriculated from Seward Park High School, after which he began to pursue his acting career, working in the Yiddish Theater District. Later, during the World War II, he joined the US Army Air Force, flying bombing missions over Europe, and when he returned he continued with acting classes at the Dramatic Workshop of the New School, appearing in such productions as “A Shot In The Dark”, and “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?”. His net worth was established.
Walter’s professional acting career really began in the early 1950s, with the role of Coach Burr in the pilot of “Mister Peepers” (1952), starring alongside Wally Cox, and then made his motion picture debut appearance in the film “The Kentuckian” in 1955. During those years, he also starred in such titles as “Goodyear Playhouse” (1952-1957), “A Face In The Crowd” (1957), directed by Elia Kazan, “Ride A Crooked Trail” (1958), starring alongside Audie Murphy, and “Gangster Story” (1959), adding a lot to his net worth.
He continued to line up success after success during the next decade, as he starred in a number of films, including the role of Morey Johnson in “Lonely Are The Brave” (1962) with Kirk Douglas, playing Hamilton Bartholomew in “Charade” (1963) alongside Audrey Hepburn, and as Dr. Julian Winston in “Cactus Flower” (1969). In 1973, Walter was chosen for the title role in the film “Charley Varrick”, which was followed by numerous other roles, including in “The Sunshine Boys” (1975), “Hopscotch” (1980), and “Pirates” (1986). His net worth was certainly rising.
The next decade didn’t change too much for Walter, as he featured in the film “JFK” (1991) as Senator Long, directed by Oliver Stone. His next big role came in the following year, as he landed the role in the television film “Against Her Will: An Incident In Baltimore”, increasing further his net worth. In 1993, he featured in “Dennis The Menace” as Mr. George Wilson, and in 1994 in “I.Q.”, portraying Albert Einstein and starring alongside Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins. Until his death, he also starred in such film titles as “The Grass Harp” (1995), “Out To Sea” (1997), and “The Odd Couple II” (1998). His last appearance was in the film “Hanging Up” in 2000.
Thanks to his accomplishment in the film industry, Walter had eight awards and 15 nominations, including Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work on “The Fortune Cookie”, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in the film “Pete ‘n’ Tillie”, Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his work on the film “The Odd Couple”, among many others.
Regarding his personal life, Walter was married twice. His first wife was Grace Geraldine Johnson (1948-1958), with whom he had two children, while his lsecond was Carol Grace. from 1959 until his death, and with whom he had one child. Walter passed away from heart attack at the age of 79, on the 1st July 2000 in Santa Monica, California, USA.
Told the editors of AFI's "Private Screenings" that John Ford's The Informer (1935) is his favorite film.
When he accepted his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Fortune Cookie (1966), he showed up on stage with a cast in one of his arms, to which presenter Shelley Winters said: "You had a tough time getting in here". During his speech, Matthau mentioned that he fell from his bicycle a few days earlier.
Played Albert Einstein in the film I.Q. (1994) even though he was a half-foot taller than the famous scientist.
Had one sibling, an older brother named Henry Matthow (born July 14, 1918; died May 21, 1995, in Long Beach, NY. His mother, Rose Matthow, was born December 15, 1894, and died in Pacific Palisades, CA, in January 1979.
During the filming of Hello, Dolly! (1969), he clashed with Barbra Streisand and disliked her so intensely that he refused to be around her except when required to do so by the script. He is famously quoted as telling Streisand that she "had no more talent than a butterfly's fart." Interestingly, he is clearly seen in the audience at the One Voice (1986) concert at her Malibu ranch, where invitation-only guests had the privilege of paying $5,000 per couple to help establish the Streisand Foundation, which supports numerous charitable organizations. Apparently, he did not hold grudges.
Screen-tested for the part of Richard Sherman in The Seven Year Itch (1955). After seeing his test, director Billy Wilder believed he had found his leading man. Unfortunately, executives at 20th Century-Fox were unwilling to take a risk on an unknown newcomer. Because of this, the role went to Tom Ewell, who had originated the role on Broadway.
Dealt with a gambling addiction his entire adult life.
Won two Tony Awards: in 1962, as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for "A Shot in the Dark," and in 1965 as Best Actor (Dramatic) for "The Odd Couple," recreating his part as Oscar Madison in the film version of the same name, The Odd Couple (1968). Previously, he also had a Tony nomination in 1959 as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for "Once More, with Feeling."
Dan Castellaneta has said that his original voice for Homer Simpson was simply an impression of Matthau.
Very tall as young man (6' 3"), Matthau had a very slouchy posture by the time he was an actor. This was in part due to back injuries attained in combat in World War II, but he probably exaggerated it because the slouch fitted his miserly characters.
[on The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)] My first day of work was in an abandoned subway station in Brooklyn. You can't get any lower than that. Before this journey underground, I hadn't been on the trains for years. I can remember the time of my youth when I didn't even have enough money to buy a token -- and that was when they cost five cents!
[on Barbara Stanwyck] Here was an actress that never played just one side of a character. She always played the truth. I once asked Barbara Stanwyck the secret of acting, and she said, "Just be truthful, and if you can fake that, you've got it made."
[1984 remark on Barbra Streisand] The most extraordinary ... er ... uninteresting person I have ever met. I just found her to be a terrible bore ... She was doing something and asked the director if I wouldn't mind saying my lines in a certain way. I think I said something to her like, "I was acting before you were born, so please don't tell me how to act." And she said, in her own inimitable way, "Is this guy crazy or something?".
He [Elvis Presley] was an instinctive actor...He was quite bright...he was very intelligent...He was not a punk. He was very elegant, sedate, and refined, and sophisticated.
I'd love to work with Barbra Streisand again. In something appropriate. Perhaps, Macbeth.
To be successful in show business, all you need are 50 good breaks.
'Get out of show business.' It's the best advice I ever got, because I'm so stubborn that if someone would tell me that, I would stay in it to the bitter end.
The first girl you go to bed with is always pretty.
I always had one ear offstage, listening for the call from the bookie.
Every actor looks all his life for a part that will combine his talents with his personality. The Odd Couple (1968) was mine. That was the plutonium I needed. It all started happening after that.
I never mind my wife having the last word. In fact, I'm delighted when she gets to it.
I think doing comedy is more difficult ... than doing noncomedic or tragic or whatever you want to call it. "Because it's difficult to make all kinds of different audiences understand what you're doing, and moving you to laughter.