Walter Matthau | Memorabilia

Academy Award

Walter’s Best Supporting Actor Oscar for ‘The Fortune Cookie’.

Academy Award Nomination Certificate for ‘The Fortune Cookie’

Walter was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, 1966.

Academy Award Nomination Certificate for ‘Kotch’

Walter was nominated for Best Actor, 1972.

Academy Award Nomination Certificate for ‘The Sunshine Boys’

Walter was nominated for Best Actor, 1975.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Card

This is Walter’s card from 1983.

Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Certificate

Walter received this for his part in the 1989-1990 Primetime Emmy Awards.

Advertisement, ‘The Odd Couple’

Autographed by Walter and Jack.

Anniversary Watch

This gift from Carol is inscribed, “Darling, I love you, Carol, August 21, 1981”.

Antoinette Perry Award for ‘The Odd Couple’

This is Walter’s 1965 Tony Award for his triumph on Broadway as Oscar Madison.

Antoinette Perry Award for ‘A Shot In The Dark’

Walter’s first Tony Award is inscribed with a rare and personal touch, “The American Theatre Wing Presents To Walter Matthau For His Performance in “A Shot In The Dark” and Carol Matthau For Having A Baby 1961-1962”.

Army of the United States Honorable Discharge

Walter’s stint in the Army ended with his honorable discharge on October 15, 1945. He was five days from his twenty-fifth birthday.

Army of the United States Separation Qualification Record

This document made Walter’s qualification for discharge from the Army official.

Autographed Photo

Jockey Kent Desormeaux, who later won the Kentucky Derby, credits Walter and ‘Casey’s Shadow’ as inspirations.

Birth Certificate

Walter was born as Matthow on October 1, 1920. The hospital misspelled his name Metthow, and Walter later handwrote Matthau, the name he chose for his career.

Broadway Show League Award

1962, Player Most Likely To, Walter Matthau, “A Shot In The Dark”, John Effra, Commissioner.

Cap, ‘Bad News Bears’

A crew cap.

Cap, Directors Guild of America

A well-worn baseball hat from Walter’s collection.

Cap, Hollywood Park

Walter’s private collection included this cap from the race track.

Cap, Los Angeles Dodgers

One of many from Walter’s personal collection.

Cap, Los Angeles Lakers

A native New Yorker, he became a long-time Southern Californian. Walter mostly rooted for whatever team he bet that day.

Cap, Los Angeles Rams

Well-worn from the era before the Rams moved to St. Louis.

Cap, Mozart

Walter expressed his love of Mozart by wearing this personal hat in ‘I Ought To Be In Pictures’.

Cast and Credits, “Anne of the Thousand Days”

Walter made his Broadway debut in this production.

Cast Photo, ‘Juno and the Paycock’

Performed in Los Angeles, the ensemble included two of Walter’s closest friends, Jack Lemmon and Maureen Stapleton.

Comedy Hall of Fame Award

Bestowed upon Walter in 1993.

Commonly Misspelled Words

Walter loved language and frequently carried typed and handwritten lists of commonly misspelled words to challenge cast-mates, colleagues and friends during down time.


Walter was a wordsmith. This is his beloved, well-worn dictionary.

Director’s Chair

Weathered red leather.


Walter was a great linguist and loved to test people with difficult to spell words. One of his young co-stars made his this drawing.

Exhibitor Laurel Award for 1967

Voted By The Film Buyers Of The Motion Picture Industry, This Official Certification carries with it the appreciation of the Theatre Industry for a job well done – Jay Emanuel, Publisher, Walter Matthau, No. 1 Supporting Role, 1967.

Exhibitor Laurel Award for 1968,

Voted By The Film Buyers Of The ,Motion Picture Industry, 1968, Walter Matthau, No. 1 Comedy Star – Male.

Father’s Day Watch

This gift from Carol and Charlie was inscribed with some of Charlie’s first words, “June 21, 1964, Dada, Mama Bus Wow Apples Charlie.”

Gold Horseshoe

Barbra Streisand inscribed this gift, “Walter, I Wish You Health & Wealth & A Little Bit Of Luck Barbra”.

Handwritten Biography of Jack Lemmon

Walter wrote this brief bio of Jack Lemmon for an unknown reason.

Handwritten Note to Jack Lemmo

Walter sent a sarcastic telegram when Jack Lemmon didn’t win the Tony award in 1979. This is his handwritten note.

Hat from Charlie Chaplin Visit,

In the 1970s, the Matthaus visite,d Oona and Charlie Chaplin and family in Europe. Walter wore this hat one day while playing aroud with an 8mm camera on Chaplin's estate.

Hat from 'Pete 'n' Tillie'

Walter wears this hat in his famous buck-naked piano-playing scene.

Hirschfeld Drawing

This color portrait is Walter as Oscar Madison.

Hollywood Foreign Press Association Certificate for ‘The Fortune Cookie’

Walter’s was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, 1966.

Hollywood Visitors & Convention Bureau Trophy

Hollywood Salutes Walter Matthau, In Recognition Of His Distinguished Service To The Entertainment Industry, December 22, 1971, (Walk of Fame Star).

International Driving Permit

Walter obtained this driving permit on July 19, 1962 before leaving for Paris to shoot ‘Charade’.

International Laurel Award for 1968

Presented to Walter Matthau, Top Fifteen Best Stars.

Jack Lemmon Snapshot

This silly, undated photo is signed to Walter and Carol from Lemmon.

Jimmy Stewart Speech

Walter spoke at The American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Dinner Tribute to Jimmy Stewart. These are his handwritten and typed speeches.

Junior High Graduation Program

Walter graduated from New York City’s PS 64. This is the graduation exercises program, from Tuesday, June 25, 1935.

Letter from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

The Academy thanked Walter for presenting at the 1972 ceremony.

Letter from Billy Wilder

Dated July 27, 1965, this letter regards ‘The Fortune Cookie’ script and shoot schedule.

Letter from Garson Kanin

Walter loved to gamble on just about anything. This letter from friend Garson Kanin alludes to a disagreement over the amount of a wager. Clearly, Kanin remembered the bet as $2, evidenced by the snapshot he encloses. Walter remembered it as $4. Kanin teased him by enclosing $3.

Letter from Jack Lemmon

As a Christmas gift of sorts, in 1988 Lemmon wrote to Walter with a hot investment tip, a cat ranch in Mexico.

Letter from Leonard Hirshan

Hirshan, Walter’s agent for over 30 years, delivered him the ‘Grumpy Old Men’ script on October 25, 1991. Walter didn’t like it, but Jack Lemmon did, as did Charlie Matthau, who talked Walter into giving it a chance.

Letter to Leonard Hirshan

On July 28, 1980, Walter's agent Hirshan sent him a script called 'Silky'. Walter promptly turned over the letter and scrawled his response.

Letter to Pauline Cale

Walter sent the New York film critic this sarcastic hand-written note after she negatively reviewed ‘The Survivors’ in the summer of 1983

Lifetime Achievement in Comedy Award

Presented to Walter at the 1996 American Comedy Awards.

Lock of Hair

Walter had a haircut at the Beverly Hilton taped for the David Letterman Show. Charlie kept the envelope and a lock of hair.

Money Clip

This was a gift from Jack Benny, inscribed on the back, “To Walter”.

Opera Pamphlets

Walter adored Mozart. These were his, Don Giovanni. They appear to be vintage, from 1787, when the opera was premiered in Prague.


Walter’s United States passport was issued July 9, 1962. Walter obtained his passport to travel to Paris in order to shoot ‘Charade’.

Photo Booth Snapshots

Shots of Walter and Carol as a young couple.

Playbill, ‘A Shot In The Dark’ at The Booth Theatre

This Playbill dated July 16, 1962 was autographed by Walter. He won the Tony award for his performance.

Playbill, ‘Anne of the Thousand Days’ at Shubert Theatre

Walter’s playbill was signed by fellow cast-mates.

Playbill, ‘My Mother, My Father and Me’ at The Plymouth Theatre

March 18, 1963.

Playbill, ‘The Odd Couple’ at Colonial Theatre

From February, 1965.

Playbill, ‘The Odd Couple’ at The Plymouth Theatre

From April, 1965.

Playbill, ‘Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?’ at The Belasco Theatre

From opening night, October 13, 1955. Walter met his wife Carol during this production. She was the understudy to Jayne Mansfield, and Walter played the lead male role.

Poker Chips

Walter’s beloved poker chips, in denominations of $25, $50 and $100, were inscribed ‘Charlie’ for good luck.

Polaroid Pictures

These original Polaroids were taken while shooting a scene in ‘Charley Varrick’.

Poster, ‘Casey’s Shadow’

A foreign movie poster.

Poster, ‘Guide for a Married Man’

This Spanish version poster is from 1967.

Poster, ‘The Kentuckian’

Autographed by Walter.

Poster, ‘Who’s Got The Action?’

This is a vintage 1962 movie poster.

Press Book, ‘The Secret Life Of An American Wife’

This press book was distributed in advance of this 1968 film.

Program, ‘Juno and the Paycock’

The production ran at the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum.

Promotional Photo

Walter and George Burns promoted ‘The Sunshine Boys’ in London.

Publicity Manual

Press material for ‘Gangster Story’ headlines Walter and his recent bride, Carol Grace.

Quigley Publishing Press Release

A note dated January 3, 1972 informed Walter he had been named one of the top ten box office stars of 1971.

Record Album

A first pressing for the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, “The Fortune Cookie”.

Save-The-Redwoods League Certificate

This gift was from Robin and Marsha Williams, a Redwood Tree planted in memory of Walter Matthau.

Scrabble Set

Walter loved board games, especially Scrabble. This is his magnetic travel edition, displayed the way he left it.

Script, ‘Hopscotch’

Walter’s handwritten notes in his original script.

Script ‘IL Piccolo Diavalo’

Walter’s original script with handwritten notes.

Script ‘The Fortune Cookie’

Walter’s original script.

Scrap Book

Walter and wife Carol became avid scrap book makers. This is one of Walter’s first and contains press clippings mainly from his early days on the Broadway stage.

Screen Actors Guild Card

Walter’s card from late 1990.


Walter’s favorite sneakers, used to make his impression at Mann’s Chinese Theater, are autographed “Walter Matthau, May 13, 1998”.

Snapshot, Edith Piath Show

Walter and Carol saw this show February 17, 1959, while they were dating.

Snapshot, Passover Seder

This great photo includes Walter and Charlie Matthau with Warren Beatty, Roman Polanski, Kirk Douglas and others at Robert Evans’ Passover Seder sometime in the 1970s. Carol cut herself from the photo, likely because she didn’t like the way she looked.

Snapshot, Walter and Bayer

This photo of Walter and an unknown friend references the ‘aristocrat joke’, staple of vaudevillian humor (Matthau as Sadofsky, Bayer as Botkin, The Aristocrats).


This sculpture of Walter and his dog are part of a proposal to memorialize him in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood where he took his daily walks.

Telegram from Sir Laurence Olivier

This telegram sent to Walter on November 26, 1976, asked him to entertain an offer to work on a project Olivier dubbed “the little Sheba idea”. Matthau responded with a handwritten note intimating that Walter found Olivier’s creative telegram “more moving than Sheba” and that he would have to decline “with profound apologies and respect.”

Telegram to Oona Chaplin

Walter sent this telegram to Oona Chaplin on September 20, 1983. He encourages her to travel to Los Angeles to visit and take part in an ACLU event, reminding her “I’m giving up poker, which is an enormous sacrifice.”

Tony Award Sign

Walter Matthau Best Actor in a Supporting Role 1961-1962 Season.

Winner’s Circle Photo, Arizona Downs

“The Walter Matthau Purse” was run on February 11, 1970.

Winner’s Circle Photo, Hollywood Park

The “Cinema Handicap” was run on June 1, 1975. Winning jockey and Hall-of-Famer Willie Shoemaker autographed the picture, “Yo Charlie the greatest handicapper of all, from the Shoe’.

Your Choice For The Oscars Award

April 9, 1972, Walter Matthau, Voted Best Actor 1971, By The People of Los Angeles On Channel 9.