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Carol Matthau

Actress-writer

This article was updated at 5:00 p.m. PT on July 28, 2003.

Carol Matthau, actress-writer who had two high-profile marriages — with author-playwright William Saroyan and actor Walter Matthau, died July 20 in New York of a brain aneurysm. She was 78.

She was the author of 1992’s “Among the Porcupines: A Memoir.” In the book, she claimed she was the muse for the Truman Capote character Holly Golightly in his “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

She had begun an acting career before her marriages, and also published a novella about her childhood under the pen name Carol Grace, “The Secret in the Daisy,” in 1955.

She noted in her memoir that Pulitzer Prize laureate Saroyan dated her when she was still in her teens, and they were married in 1943.

They had a son, Aram, and a daughter, Lucy, who died earlier this year. The union with Saroyan, who was known for his difficult personality, was far from happy. Twice they married and divorced each other.

She then met Matthau and studied acting with Sanford Meisner at New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse. The couple married in 1959 and remained together until his death in 2000. They had a son, film director Charles Matthau.

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