Carol Grace

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Carol Grace
Born(1924-09-11)September 11, 1924
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 21, 2003(2003-07-21) (aged 78)
New York City, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress, author
Spouse(s)William Saroyan (1943–49; divorced; 1951–52; divorced); 2 children
Walter Matthau (1959–2000; his death); 1 child
ChildrenAram Saroyan
Lucy Saroyan
Charles Matthau

Carol Grace (September 11, 1924 – July 21, 2003) was an American actress and author. She is usually referred to as Carol Marcus Saroyan or Carol Matthau.

Grace was born in New York City's Lower East Side; her mother, who was sixteen when she gave birth, was the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants. Grace never knew her biological father. She was placed in foster care until the age of eight when her mother married Charles Marcus, the wealthy head of the Bendix Corporation. Grace would take his last name as her own.[1][2]

She was reportedly the inspiration for the Holly Golightly character in Truman Capote's novella Breakfast at Tiffany's.[3]

Grace's Broadway credits include Once There Was a Russian (1961), The Cold Wind and the Warm (1958), The Square Root of Wonderful (1957), Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1955), The Time of Your Life (1955), and Across the Board on Tomorrow Morning and Talking to You (1942).[4]

She was twice married to Pulitzer Prize-winning writer William Saroyan over an eight-year period.(1943-1949 and 1951-1952).[4] The couple had two children: Aram Saroyan, an internationally known writer, and the late actress Lucy Saroyan, who died in 2003.[2][1][5]

She subsequently married actor Walter Matthau on August 21, 1959. The couple remained married until his death on July 1, 2000; they had one son, Charles. She had a wide social circle and was known for her wit and good company.[2][1][5]

In 1955 Random House published[6] her novella based on her experiences as a foster child, The Secret in the Daisy.[7] In 1992 she published a memoir, Among the Porcupines.[8]

Grace died of a cerebral aneurysm on July 21, 2003, aged 78.[9] She was survived by her two sons and a sister, Elinor Dee Pruder.[5]


Year Film Role
1960 Gangster Story Carol
1961 Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "Cop for a Day"
1976 Mikey and Nicky Nellie
1978 The Barbara Walters Special Self


  1. ^ a b c Obituary,, August 11, 2004; accessed August 17, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Obituary in The Independent, July 27, 2003; accessed June 8, 2017
  3. ^ "Holly Golightly inspiration",, August 2, 1992; accessed August 17, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Carol Grace". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on October 19, 2019. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Obituary, The New York Times, July 24, 2003; accessed August 17, 2015.
  6. ^ "Whitney Bolton". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. February 17, 1959. p. 19. Retrieved October 19, 2019 – via
  7. ^ Notice in re forthcoming publication of The Secret of the Daisy
  8. ^ Review of Among the Porcupines,; accessed August 17, 2015.
  9. ^ Carol Grace on IMDb

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