THE FINAL DAYS OF WALTER MATTHAU

Here’s another weird bit of web satire from 2000. I don’t know why I decided to pick on Walter Matthau. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

walter matthau in hospital

The dramatic final days of comic legend Walter Matthau.

Good night, funny man

Beloved comedic actor Walter Matthau, star of blockbuster films The Odd Couple, The Sunshine Boys, and Grumpy Old Men, kept his humor until the end, according to those close to him during his final days.

According to Hollywood Home Health Care Nurse Mary Goodhead, who cared for the ailing actor before his death last month, Matthau was in good spirits, laughing and cracking jokes right until the moment of his death.

“On Friday afternoon he was having trouble breathing, and said he had a headache. I offered him a cigarette, and he said, ‘Are you trying to kill me?’ He was always saying funny things like that,” Goodhead said.

“Later that night, I had some friends over. We were having after dinner drinks when Mr. Matthau came out of the bedroom. He said he felt sick. He headed toward the bathroom, but he fell down after a few steps—really hit the ground hard, landing on his face. We all started cracking up. Then he vomited, a big puddle of yellow bile, and that really got us rolling. My boyfriend Butch laughed so hard he took a shit right on the living room couch,” Goodhead explained.

“Mr. Matthau laid there for a really long time. It was so hilarious. Then he started moaning, ‘I’m in pain. It hurts, it hurts. Please help me.’ I gave him a couple Nembutal, and a can of beer. He couldn’t hold the can, so I poured the beer down his throat. He started choking, so I smacked him on the back a couple of times. His false teeth fell out, and landed in his lap. We all started laughing again. Walter said, ‘Please, God, I want to die.’ We were roaring. It was so cute.”

Comic Genius Kept ‘Em Laughing Until the End

The 79-year-old Matthau was still knockin’ em dead the day he died.

“He was still lying in the hall the next morning. We were all pretty hung over. Around noon, Butch and I picked him up and carried him into bed. His breathing was really shallow and raspy. He asked Butch if he was Jack Lemon, and Butch and I got a good chuckle out of it. He also said he saw George Burns sitting in the corner of the room, holding a pitchfork. It was a great line. He was so on!

“Butch asked Walt if he could borrow a few dollars to buy beer. He took Walt’s wallet from the dresser and started taking money out. Walter called him a ‘Cocksucking thief,’ and I just about pissed my pants! That man was a comic genius.

“Walt did another great pratfall out of the bed. Butch picked him up by the neck, and put him back. Then Walt started crying, real soft and quiet. It was brilliant, like an Andy Kaufman skit.”

The perennial comic dozed for a while that afternoon, but he was back for his final performance around 4 p.m.

“He started moaning, asking for his family, and Butch told him to be quiet. He started squirming around on the bed, waving his arms about aimlessly. I think he was doing a Frankenstein impression. It was funny as hell. Butch poured a shot of Tequila in his mouth, and Walt puked it all over the floor. He started flopping around on the bed, making all these funny noises. He sounded like a seal at the circus, and we were cracking up.

Last Rites

“Then he let out a huge fart, and flipped onto the floor. We must have laughed for five minutes straight! It wasn’t until Butch went to pick Mr. Matthau up and put him back in bed that we realized he hadn’t just farted…he had shit himself! Butch had it all over his arms, and I was laughing so hard that I shit, pissed, puked and started menstruating. Butch put Walt back in bed and, just as a joke, wiped his shit-covered arms clean on the front of Walt’s shirt. Walter was the perfect straight man—he never said a word!” Goodhead chuckled.

“After that, Butch and I took a shower, had sex, played a chess tournament, ate dinner, and watched a movie. When I checked on Mr. Matthau later that night, he was dead. He was lying on the floor about halfway across the room. He appeared to be crawling toward the window. It was so sad to see him go. He was such a kind, sweet, generous gentleman, one of America’s finest actors,” Goodhead said. “At least the end was peaceful for him.”

A Matthau family spokesperson said the family was sorry it could not raise the ransom money needed to free Matthau before his death, but that “frankly, he was sort of a dick.”

When asked to comment, Jack Lemon said, “What the fuck?”

-30-

Speak Your Mind

*