Walter Matthau dies at age 79

Jul 01, 2000 by Ian Evans

Walter Matthau, a well-loved actor known for his grumpy, ruffled comic characters, died Saturday at the age of 79. Matthau, who had a history of heart problems, arrived at the hospital in full cardiac arrest.

Matthau appeared in over 70 movies. He won an Oscar® in 1966 for his supporting role in Billy Wilder’s The Fortune Cookie. He later received two Best Actor nominations and won a Tony for his performance in A Shot in the Dark. Audiences remember him best for his wonderful performances with Jack Lemmon. The two seemed to be born to play opposite each other. They first appeared together in The Fortune Cookie and reteamed again in the 1968 film version of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. The pair worked together in fourteen films. In a statement, Lemmon said: “I have just lost someone I’ve loved as a brother, as my closest friend and a remarkable human being. We have also lost one of the best damn actors we’ll ever see.”

Matthau last appeared in Hanging Up as the aging father of Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan and Lisa Kudrow.