: I never mind my wife having the last word. In fact, I'm delighted when she gets to it.
Matthau was born Walter Jake Matthow in New York City. His mother was an immigrant from Lithuania and his father was a Russian Jewish peddler and electrician from Kiev, Ukraine.
During World War II, Matthau served in the U.S. Army Air Forces with the Eighth Air Force in Britain as a Consolidated B-24 Liberator radioman-gunner, in the same 453rd Bombardment Group as James Stewart. He was based at RAF Old Buckenham, Norfolk during this time. He reached the rank of staff sergeant and became interested in acting.
He is best known for his film roles opposite Jack Lemmon, playing Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple, and its 1998 sequel, The Odd Couple II, and Max Goldman in Grumpy Old Men and its sequel, Grumpier Old Men.
Matthau appeared opposite Audrey Hepburn in Charade, and 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.