Matthau, Carol (Grace Marcus) 1932-2003 (Carol Grace)

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MATTHAU, Carol (Grace Marcus) 1932-2003 (Carol Grace)


See index for CA sketch: Born September 11, 1932, in New York, NY; died of a brain aneurysm July 20, 2003, in New York, NY. Actress and author. The former wife of both author William Saroyan and actor Walter Matthau, Matthau was a well-known socialite who wrote about her debutante lifestyle in her 1992 autobiography, Among the Porcupines: A Memoir. After a rough start in life—she never knew her biological father and ended up in foster care while her Russian-immigrant mother worked—Matthau's luck changed when her mother married a wealthy business executive. From that time on, her life was charmed: she lived in a fancy Fifth Avenue apartment, enjoyed the best things money could afford, and attended the best schools, where she met and became friends with the likes of Gloria Vanderbilt and Oona O'Neill. She quickly developed other friendships with celebrities and artists, among them Truman Capote, Henry Miller, Cary Grant, and Isak Dinesen. She met and fell in love with Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Saroyan while still a teenager, and the couple married in 1943. Unfortunately, according to Matthau's autobiography, Saroyan was abusive to her and they divorced; though they reconciled and remarried in 1951, this second attempt lasted only half a year. After divorcing, Matthau earned her living by acting, and she also wrote a novel, The Secret in the Daisy (1955), under the name Carol Grace. She met actor Walter Matthau while working as an understudy for a play he was in. They married in 1959, and this time the marriage worked; the Matthaus remained together until her actor husband's death in 2000. Matthau's other claim to fame was that, according to her autobiography, she was the inspiration for Truman Capote's fictional character Holly Golightly in the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's.



Writers Directory, 18th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2003.


Chicago Tribune, July 25, 2003, section 3, p. 12.

Los Angeles Times, July 25, 2003, p. B14.

New York Times, July 24, 2003, p. A21.

Times (London, England), July 29, 2003.