Biography and personal life
George Matthews was born and raised in Manhattan, New York. He was educated in Brooklyn.
The actor’s appearance featured high stature and a huge physique, a wide face, strong eyebrows and a sticking out lower lip. Audiences perceived him as a heavyweight fighter or hardened military, so his acting amplua was to play comic bullies, sturdy guards and police officers.
The character of George Matthews was the complete opposite of those villains he often portrayed on screen and on scene. He was an intelligent and friendly man, very fond of chess. Engaged in the game of chess, Mathews achieved great skill and often participated in international tournaments in the sport.
George Matthews’s wife is theatre actress Mary, née Haynesworth. They married in 1951 and happily lived together a lifetime.
In 1972, the famous actor ended his career and retired. In November 1984, Matthews died of heart disease in Caesar Head, South Carolina.
Career in theatre
To the stage of theatre and cinema George Matthews hit almost by accident. In the early 1930s, just after he failed to get a job at the U.S. Post. The future actor then joined the WPA (Works Progress Administration) theater program of a government agency that helped unemployed American citizens get jobs in times Great American Depression.
Once on the Broadway stage, Matthews progressed rapidly and received his first leading role in a production of “The Professional” (1937) as Dynamite Jim.
On the cinematography screen, Matthews is somewhat later. His first memorable role was the character Sergeant Ruby in the Broadway production of “St. Mark’s Eve” (1943). And the following year, he played the same character in the film of the same name, which was his film screen debut.
Continuing to perform on stage, he played well in classical plays. In the play “Antigone”, starring Cedric Hardwick in the title role, played a guard. Played Harry Mitch in the production of “The Name Desire of the Tram” (1949-1950). With the latter production, he toured extensively with Uta Hagen and Anthony Quinn. Subsequently, his role was even noted by critic Brooks Atkinson in the “New York Times”.
In 1950, Matthews joins the Tyrone Power troupe and plays the role of Captain in the London production of “Mr. Roberts” at the Coliseum Theatre. This production invariably evoked enschlags from the audience and was highly praised by critics.
film debut in the 1944 film “St. Mark’s Eve”. In the amplua of a comic thug, he first appeared in the painting “Pat and Mike” (1952) with Katharine Hapburn in the title role.
Matthews had his first major role in a motion picture in 1955 in the drama film “The Man with the Golden Hand”, where he portrayed the player Williams. The next starring role was in the colorful 1956 film western “The Last Van,” where George played sheriff-sadist Bull Harper.
Fatso O’Rear’s role in Garson Kanin’s musical comedy “Do Re Mi” (1960-1962) with Phil Silveres in the title role made Matthews a celebrated actor.
In 1962, he appeared as Stryker in the sixth episode of the sixth season of the TV series “You Have Guns — Let’s Travel!”. George Mathews’ comedic talent was evident in the 1963 short series “Glynis”, where he played the recurring role of former police officer Chick Rogers, who helps the mystery writer and sister- to an amateur (played by Glynis Jones) in solving detective puzzles.
In 1965, George appears on the Broadway stage in the play “Catch Me If You Can”. But his most memorable role in the theater was that of Harvey in “The Honeymooners. He also played the role of bar owner John Shancy, who helped protagonist Doc Holej hang himself in “Shootout at OK Corral”.
1943 is the film “Dining Room “Stepped Door”, the role of Marine Sergeant Ray Bolger (without indication in the credits). It was an American World War II film with alternating dramatic scenes and musical numbers. Produced by Saul Lesser, directed by Frank Borzaghe. The film contains many famous cameos, and the story recounts one of the performances at a famous New York restaurant and nightclub for American and allied servicemen. The original song for the film “We Shouldn’t Say Goodbye” was nominated for an Academy Award.
1944 is a St. Mark’s Eve film, the role of Sergeant Ruby. The film is produced by 20th Century Fox based on the 1942 play of the same name. The film featured all the same actors that played roles in the original production.
1944 is a film “In Hands”, the role of Blackie. It is a musical film directed by Eliot Nugent starring Danny Kay and Dinah Shore in the lead roles. Was nominated for two Oscar Awards.
1944 is a “Wing and Prayer” film, the role of Dooley. A black-and-white war film about the heroic crew of an American aircraft carrier during the early days of World War II on the Pacific. Despite being similar to the classic propaganda film, it was nominated for an Academy Award as a picture with Best Original Screenplay for a very realistic portrayal.
1952 is a Pat and Mike film, the role of Special Cawley. An American comedy-romance film starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hapburn in the lead roles.
1955 is a “Man with the Golden Hand” film, the role of Williams’s player. American drama film with noir elements. The story tells the story of a drug addict who convalesces in prison, and then tries to stay the same at large. Although the release of the film was under great question due to the then prohibition of the subject of addiction, the painting was nominated for three Oscar Awards: for Best Production Design (Best Art Scenery), for best music and for best screenplay.
1956 is the film “The Last Wagon”, the role of Sheriff Bull Harper. The plot tells a story that happened during the American Indian Wars: Survivors of a massacre with Indians must rely on a man who is wanted for several murders, but who owes them take out of danger.
1960 is a Heller in Pink Tights film, the role of Sam Pearce. Western with Sophia Loren and Anthony Quinn in the lead roles. The painting is widely known for its sumptuous costumes and impressive footage. Despite its lack of commercial success, in the history of the film industry, the film is considered one of the most lavish on visual imagery. Director George Cukor, dissatisfied with most of the then Westerns, hired renowned fashion photographers, illustrators, art and design experts to create a masterpiece in the world of Westerns.
1971 is the film “Going Home”, the role of Mala, the last role of George Matthews. A dramatic film directed by Herbert Leonard, nominated for a 1972 Golden Globe Award.