Walter Matthau (October 1, 1920 – July 1, 2000) was an American actor best known for his role as Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple and his frequent collaborations with Odd Couple star Jack Lemmon, as well as his role as Coach Buttermaker in the 1976 comedy The Bad News Bears. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 1966 Billy Wilder film The Fortune Cookie. Besides the Oscar he was the winner of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony awards.
Matthau was born Walter John Matthow in New York City's Lower East Side on October 1, 1920 to a Lithuanian Jewish mother, Rose (née Berolsky), who worked in a garment sweatshop, and a Russian Jewish father, Milton Matthow, a peddler and electrician from Kiev. As part of a lifelong love of practical jokes, Matthau himself created the rumors that his middle name was Foghorn and his last name was originally Matuschanskayasky (under which he is credited for a cameo role in the film Earthquake).
As a young boy, Walter attended a Jewish non-profit sleepaway camp, Tranquillity Camp, where he first began acting in the shows the camp would stage on Saturday nights. He also attended Surprise Lake Camp. His high school was Seward Park High School. He had a brief career as a Yiddish Theater District concessions stand cashier...
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