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Tuesday, 4 July, 2000, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
Matthau buried in private service
Walter Matthau
Matthau didn't want any fuss made over his burial
Actor Walter Matthau has been buried in a simple, private service attended by about 50 family and members and close friends.

The service took place at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles, Matthau's son said.

"He wanted as little fuss made about it as possible, a simple burial in a plain pine casket," explained Charlie Matthau.

Matthau, the star of films including of The Odd Couple and The Front Page, died on Saturday at the age of 79.

The Westwood Village Memorial Park is also the final resting place of screen siren Marilyn Monroe.

"Knowing my father, he'll insist on alphabetical billing," joked Matthau, a filmmaker who directed his Oscar-winning father in The Grass Harp in 1995.

He said he plans on holding a memorial for his father in a few weeks to follow Sunday's service.

Health battle

The comic actor, known for his hangdog features and foghorn voice, died at St John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California after suffering a heart attack.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, he became a known as a master of crotchety comedy in films such as The Sunshine Boys and the Grumpy Old Men.

In his first films, Matthau found himself cast as a villain. But it was his success in the 1965 Broadway production of The Odd Couple that set him on the road to the big time.

He left the production to appear with Jack Lemmon in The Fortune Cookie which earned him stardom and began a much-loved screen partnership spanning several decades and taking in nine films.

Matthau had survived several illnesses, including a heart attack in 1966 and heart surgery in 1976.

He was in hospital for more than two months last year with pneumonia. He blamed his illnesses on his eating habits.

Matthau said that if you only ate celery and lettuce, you wouldn't get sick.

He added that he liked celery and lettuce but accompanied with other goodies like eskimo pies.

See also:

01 Jul 00 | Americas
Actor Walter Matthau dies
01 Jul 00 | Americas
Walter Matthau: Lovable slouch
01 Jul 00 | Americas
Walter Matthau: A life in pictures
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