How tall was Walter Matthau

Walter Matthau's Height

6ft 2 ½ (189.2 cm)

American actor best remembered for his roles in Grumpy Old Men, The Odd Couple, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Charade, A Face in the Crowd, Fail Safe, The Fortune Cookie, Dennis the Menace, Charley Varrick and The Bad News Bears. In an interview he talked about his height: "WM: Yeah. Joseph Maher said to me--he plays one of the professors in the movie--and Joe said [in Maher's precise English accent] 'Can you play Einstein a little shorter?' Because Einstein was about six inches shorter than I am.
KD: So what did you do?
WM: Played him shorter. Somehow Einstein being six foot two is not right. But the story is really about Meg Ryan."

On another occasion in a 1974 conversation he said "I'm six foot three, but I never weighed more than a hundred and fifty pounds."
I especially liked [Tim] when he was doing scenes with Stephen Fry because both of them are 6-6, and they would help me become Einstein because Einstein was 5-7, and in reality, I'm 6-foot-2.
-- Walter Matthau

Add a Comment49 comments

Average Guess (11 Votes)
6ft 2.3in (188.7cm)
Hong said on 24/Sep/20
Click Here Here's 68 year old Matthau face to face with Dan Aykroyd.
Sinclair said on 24/Aug/20
Rob, who would you say was taller at peak, Gregory Peck or Walter Matthau?
Editor Rob
I might say Peck could have been the one who measures slightly taller.
Hulk.23 said on 12/Aug/20
I think 6’2.5”/189cm for his peak seems right. Same height as a young William B.Davis
Jtm said on 11/Aug/20
I really need to watch that movie he did with Gregory peck. There are few posters on peck's page claimed peck was taller.
Sinclair said on 10/Aug/20
Matthau seemed to own 6’2.5” in the earlier stages of his career, I’d go with that. Gregory Peck was basically the same height as Matthau in Mirage. In The Kentuckian, Matthau looked close to 6’3” and easily edged out Burt Lancaster. In Charade, The Fortune Cookie, The Odd Couple, Charley Varrick and The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three, I thought Matthau gave a strong 6’2” impression. By the time of Grumpy Old Men, Matthau had shrunk, as 6’2.25” Ossie Davis was taller than Matthau by then.
Jtm said on 6/Aug/20
He was much shorter than cliff Osmond in the fortune cookie. Maybe Osmond was taller than 6'5 but I would give Matthau 6'2 peak at the most and he was supposedly shorter than Gregory peck in a movie they did together but I haven't seen it.
OriginalAnon said on 3/Aug/20
189cm peak yes. I would not discard 191cm either. I just loved this actor.
Jam Cherry said on 6/Jun/20
Over 6’2” for sure something like 188.5 cm fits him perfectly
Richard said on 5/Dec/17
He was just over 6'2". He was only about 50 in "The Taking of Pelham 123".
Richardspain said on 21/Sep/17
He still looks taller in movies like "The Taking of Pelham One Two " on his sixty years old when the movie was filmed.

Is very easy he was 6'3 or 190cm when he was young.

In my opinion:

Walter young;

190/191 cm

Walter older ;between 188/189cm
berta said on 21/Sep/17
at peak very close to 6 foot 3 seems good. 189 peak is the absolute lowest i would say
movieguy said on 6/May/17
Awkward posture but reading comments below was due to war injury. A heck of a good actor and yes a tall man. 6'2'' or more.
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 27/Mar/17
Maybe 6ft3 isn't out of the question
berta said on 4/Dec/16
i think he was 191 peak and when he sad eisntein quote he was about 70 years old? so i just guess he new he was not 191 anymore. 191 peak and 186 at the end
GP said on 8/Sep/16
Rob in your opinion, since he almost always had poor posture, how much height was he dropping?
Editor Rob: at times it might have been 1-1.5 inches with shorter guys, although I did see Pelham 123 not long ago and thought his posture wasn't actually that bad in a few scenes when walking about.
berta said on 24/Mar/16
aboslute not shorter than this peak. Before injury and all he was probably190 ore 91 after injury, 190-189 and when he was really old maybe 186
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 13/Mar/16
Interesting about how the slouch was the result of a war injury. Could he have been taller prior to that?
Sam said on 8/Jun/15
Yeah, Sunshine Boys is another good one, he made a big impression with just a scene in JFK too.
Sam said on 8/Jun/15
Would be interesting if there was a photo of the young (pre-fame) Matthau when he served alongside Jimmy Stewart in the Air Force in WWII but I can't find any.
Sam said on 8/Jun/15
Yeah it's a pretty good fit for him, I wouldn't rule out 190 cm at his absolute peak though. There's a film he did with Gregory Peck and I think he might be just edged out by Peck (only photo has Matthau leaning & dropping inches). Here later on w/ Lemmon & Peck.
Click Here
w/ Elvis: Click Here
w/ Audrey Hepburn: Click Here
Arch Stanton said on 6/Mar/15
You forgot The Sunshine Boys though Sam, just brilliant!
Arch Stanton said on 6/Mar/15
Rob can you add a photo?
Arch Stanton said on 3/Mar/15
Yes, he does look 6'2.5 In the Taking of Pelham, markedly taller than most of the other actors. His proportions remind me of Charlton Heston's in Pelham actually, I watched a Heston film recently and then Pelham so 6'2.5 for both does make sense!
Arch Stanton said on 3/Mar/15
Rob can you add a photo> Was about to request most of those films but see Sam beat me to it. What a classic The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is!
Sam said on 29/Dec/14
Could you update his credits to the following?: "American actor best remembered for his roles in A Face in the Crowd, Charade, Fail Safe, The Odd Couple, The Fortune Cookie, Cactus Flower, Charley Varrick, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The Bad News Bears and Grumpy Old Men."
Judd said on 14/Nov/14
yesterday i was talking with the father of one of my best friend, and it comes up that he met Walter Matthau in new york, in the middle of 70's, a couple of times in a synagogue (on a occasional celebrations) and one of those times he stayed like a couple of yard far from him for more than one hour...he said Matthau was very tall, about 6'3"...i said that in the website of one my friend Matthau was listed at 6'2.5" and he answered that he's really much believable...
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 30/Sep/14
He looked noticeably shorter in the 90s. I'd have guessed 6ft1 range in The Odd Couple 2
judd said on 13/Sep/14
I think when he was young he was a full 6'2.5", but in the last movies he was a bit 6'1.5
Arch Stanton said on 21/Apr/14
Rob you might want to mention his major back problem, hunched over a lot. It made him look shorter than he actually was.
Arch Stanton said on 21/Apr/14
Granted he slouched a lot but I wouldn't guess him over 6'2". He looked around 4 inches shorter than 6'5 listed Herb Edelman in The Odd Couple but posture might have accounted for part of that.
Arch Stanton said on 21/Apr/14
Did he really have 5.5 inches on Jack Lemmon???
Ian C. said on 18/Sep/13
If I remember correctly, Matthau was wounded in World War II, which accounts for his slouch. He might have been as tall as six foot four before he was hurt.
shrapnel said on 8/Mar/13
Always had terrible posture, but he was usally 5-6 inches taller than his co-stars.
Joe Bloggs said on 9/Jul/11
Taller and lankier than he appeared because he always played opposite shorter actors, and except for a few films, he wasn't the heavy, and he didn't want to "loom" over the others, so he "played shorter."
James said on 6/Jun/11
Yep strong 6'2 guy
\\-_-_-(Hugh)-_-_-/ said on 13/Feb/09
6ft3 in his prime is about right. 6ft2 or close by the time of his death would be correct also.
adam said on 1/Jan/09
There`s that great pic in Charlton Heston`s page (thank you Gonzalo) where Matthau looks slightly taller than Gene Hackman. I think he was definitely a strong 6-3 as a young man.
thekiddd said on 12/Dec/08
You didn't Lori. He died in 2000. How could you have seen him in 2003 when he died in the year 2000?
adam said on 14/Nov/08
You were lucky Lori, meeting a guy who has been dead for three years!
Lori said on 29/Oct/08
I met him at my sister in law's Halloween party in Malibu back in 2003, and he was definitely around 6'3". My husband is 6'4" and he was very close. I was shocked how tall he was, considering how many short actors there are in and around Malibu.
Hugh said on 1/Sep/08
6ft2 or 3 sounds good. He did look tall.
glenn said on 11/Mar/08
they are remaking that with john travolta.and possibly forrest whitaker or will smith.
Catsman said on 10/Mar/08
I was surprised to read that he was as tall as 6ft 3, until I saw The Taking Of Pelham 123, in which he looked really tall.
sam said on 26/Feb/08
he's problably 6'3 with perfect posture
Gonzalo said on 10/May/06
He looked near 6`3 although he was never straight. He shrunk in his last days cause he was four or five inches shorter than Tim robbins. Great actor Walter, the nicest disagreeable man to ever appeared in movies
Frank2 said on 8/Mar/06
6'3" is correct. When he got older he dropped to about 6'1".
sam said on 24/Jan/06
I've read that he was 6'3" as a young man and attained injuries in WWII that made it so he couldn't straight up his back to his former height. I read that he also slouched in films to fit certain characters' personalities.
Tiger said on 24/Jan/06
Rob: I completely agree with you. No doubt that we lose some height as we age, especially when we get into our elderly years. 6-2 / 6-2 1/2 in Matthau's latter years is pretty darn good. Also, I always notice that Matthau was one to have a bit of a slouch. However,he defnitely seemed to tower over most he starred with.

[Editor Rob: looking at old pics I can see his slouch...actually in mid 90's he still looked near 6ft 2 considering slouch, so maybe the 6ft 3 in his 30's was closer, I'll give him that.]
Tiger said on 24/Jan/06
I am pretty confident 6-3 is correct. 4 websites (filmbug,imdb,moviegeeks,and Matthau's official website) all list him at 6-3. Interestingly, 2 magazines ('Legends of Comedy' 1991 and 'History of the American TV Comedy' 1987) both list Matthau at 6-3 1/2. From the latter magazine discussing 'The Odd Couple'movie before it came to television, "...Oscar Madison (Matthau)had as much as 6 to 7 inches on Felix Unger (Jack Lemmon)..." The article discussed the irony of how close Klugman and Randall were in height on the TV series compared to Matthau and Lemmon.

[Editor Rob: maybe he meant at the point he was filming he was that height. In other words, at that point in time he shrunk a little...quite reasonable he shrunk a bit towards his latter years...]

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