Grace Geraldine Johnson was the first wife of American actor Walter Matthau. They married in 1948 and then divorced after a decade; during their time together, the couple had two children, David and Jenny. Grace was born on March 4, 1925, in Brooklyn, New York, USA, to Ranchild Bernholst and Robert Johnson.

Life After Divorce

Upon her divorce from Walter, Matthau lived away from the spotlight. There are no details on the internet that she remarried; she probably remained single as she raised her two children. On the other hand, her ex-husband married actress Carol Marcus, and they had a son who is an actor. Walter Matthau lived with Carol until he died in 2000.

Her Ex-Husband

Grace Johnson’s ex-husband loved acting since he was a young boy; he participated in stage shows at a sleepaway camp. He served in the United States Army during the second world war, after which he pursued an acting career. Walter trained at the Dramatic Workshop in New York City, after which he started appearing in stage plays.

Grace’s Ex-Husband’s Acting Career

Walter Matthau began his acting career in the late 1940s; he appeared on several Broadway shows, including The Liar, Anne of the Thousand Days, and Twilight Walk, among other early works. Grace’s ex-husband made his film debut in 1955, appearing in The Kentuckian as Stan Bodine.

On television, Grace’s ex-husband debuted as early as 1950; he appeared in several shows. He played Stuart Benson in The Philco Television Playhouse from 1952 to 1955. Walter also appeared in the procedural series Naked City as Dr. Max Levine. Grace’s ex-husband was also part of the cast of Tallahassee 7000, appearing in 26 episodes of the show as Lex Rogers.

His other notable projects include The Fortune Cookie, where he started as William Gingrich alongside Jack Lemmon. He also appeared in A Guide for the Married Man, The Odd Couple, Kotch, The Front Page, Little Miss Marker, First Monday in October, and Buddy Buddy.

Grace’s ex-husband also received several accolades for several roles. He won an Academy Award in 1966 for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Fortune Cookie. Walter received two Tony Awards in the 1960s and several nominations for the Golden Globe Award, but he won it once.

Health Issues and Death of Grace’s Ex-Husband

Grace Johnson’s ex-husband loved smoking and had done it for most of his life. In his later years, he had many health problems, some of which resulted from his heavy smoking. He suffered his first heart attack in 1966, and a decade later, he underwent heart surgery. In the 1990s, Grace’s ex-husband was hospitalized twice due to pneumonia.

Grace’s ex-husband also had colon cancer and underwent surgery where a tumor was removed. Walter Matthau had heart disease and died of cardiac arrest on July 1, 2000. He was interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.


Grace Geraldine Johnson died on October 18, 1982, aged 57. Her family never revealed the cause of her death, but she was probably battling a disease.