The Fortune Cookie
|The Fortune Cookie|
|Directed by||Billy Wilder|
|Produced by||Billy Wilder|
|Written by||I.A.L. Diamond
|Music by||André Previn|
|Editing by||Daniel Mandell|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Release date(s)||October 19, 1966|
|Running time||125 min.|
CBS cameraman Harry Hinkle (Jack Lemmon) gets injured when football player Luther "Boom Boom" Jackson (Ron Rich) runs into him while he is covering a Browns game at Cleveland Stadium. Harry's injuries are minor, but his conniving lawyer brother-in-law William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich (Walter Matthau) convinces him to pretend that his leg and hand have been partially paralyzed. This way, they can receive a huge indemnity from the insurance company. Harry reluctantly goes along with the scheme because he is still in love with his ex-wife, Sandy (Judi West), and it might win her back. The insurance company suspects that the paralysis is a fake one, so a cat-and-mouse game starts between its investigator, Chester Purkey (Cliff Osmond), and the shyster Willie. Boom Boom takes very good care of Harry, who starts having second thoughts as he witnesses guilt taking its toll on Boom Boom. As he also sees that Sandy is back by his side strictly out of greed, Harry decides to reveal the truth, thereby ruining Willie's get-rich plans.
- Jack Lemmon - Harry Hinkle
- Walter Matthau - William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich
- Ron Rich - Luther "Boom Boom" Jackson
- Judi West - Sandy
- Cliff Osmond - Chester Purkey
- Lurene Tuttle - Hinkle's mother
- Harry Holcombe - O'Brien
- Les Tremayne - Thompson
- Lauren Gilbert - Kincaid
- Marge Redmond - Charlotte Gingrich
- Noam Pitlik - Max
- Harry Davis - Dr. Krugman
- Ann Shoemaker - Sister Veronica
- Maryesther Denver - Nurse
- Ned Glass - Doc Schindler
- Sig Ruman - Professor Winterhalter
- Archie Moore - Mr. Jackson
- Howard McNear - Mr. Cimoli
- William Christopher - Intern (as Bill Christopher)
- Bartlett Robinson - Specialist #1
- Robert P. Lieb - Specialist #2
- Martin Blaine - Specialist #3
- Ben Wright - Specialist #4
- Dodie Heath - Nun
- Herbie Faye - Maury, the Equipment Man
- Billy Beck - Maury's Assistant
- Judy Pace - Elvira
- Helen Kleeb - The Lawyers' Receptionist
- Lisa Jill - Ginger Gingrich
- John Todd Roberts - Jeffrey Gingrich
- Keith Jackson - Football Announcer
- Herbert Ellis - TV Director (as Herb Ellis)
- Don Reed - Newscaster
- Louise Vienna - Girl on TV
- Robert DoQui - Man in Bar (as Bob DoQui)
- John Anderson - Abraham Lincoln (uncredited)
- Jim Brown - Running Back - Number 32 (archive footage) (uncredited)
- Leroy Kelly - Running Back #44 (archive footage) (uncredited)
- Jon Silo - Tailor (uncredited)
- This was the first film to feature the movie partnership of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.
- They acted together in 10 films:
- Production was halted for weeks after Walter Matthau had a heart attack. He had slimmed from 190 to 160 pounds by the time filming was completed and had to wear a heavy black coat to conceal the weight loss.
- Jack Lemmon originally had two other actors proposed to star with him. They were Frank Sinatra and Jackie Gleason, but Lemmon insisted that he do the picture with Walter Matthau.
- Scenes were filmed at the Minnesota Vikings vs. Cleveland Browns game, held at Cleveland Municipal Stadium on the afternoon of Halloween 1965, with the Vikings beating the Browns, 27-17.
Walter Matthau won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in this film. The movie also received Oscar nominations for Art Direction-Set Decoration (Black-and-White) (Robert Luthardt, Edward G. Boyle), Best Cinematography (Black-and-White), and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay. Walter Matthau was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical/Comedy.
Cleveland locations 
Saint Mark's Hospital is in reality St. Vincent Charity Hospital. In 1966, the scene was filmed on East 24th Street in an older section. In 1966, St. Vincent Charity had completed a then-ultramodern curved Hospital building.