--Walter Matthau, via “Carol Matthau,” The Guardian, August 11, 2003
The wife to whom Walter Matthau refers was the glamorous Carol Marcus Saroyan Matthau, best friend of Gloria Vanderbilt and Oona Chaplin (see Aram Saroyan’s Trio, Portrait of an Intimate Friendship). The Matthaus were one of filmdom’s rare marital success stories. They wed in 1959 and remained married until his death in 2000.
Carol was once married to the author William Saroyan (twice married actually—they divorced and briefly re-wed). Theirs was a turbulent relationship, involving domestic violence. Saroyan wrote a moving and deeply introspective memoir about their life together, The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills. From it, one gets the sense that when his demons got the better of him, it was much to his regret.
Carol Matthau was a lifelong friend of Truman Capote’s, covered in more detail in our blog entry “The Swans of Fifth Avenue, Part Two.”