Matthew Cowles

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Matthew Cowles
Matthew Cowles Jennifer West.jpg
Cowles and Jennifer West in the play Malcolm in 1966.
Born(1944-09-28)September 28, 1944
DiedMay 22, 2014(2014-05-22) (aged 69)
New York City, U.S.
Years active1969–2014
Spouse(s)Kathleen Dezina
(m. 1980; divorced)
Parent(s)Chandler Cowles (father)

Matthew Cowles (September 28, 1944 – May 22, 2014) was an American actor and playwright.

Early life[edit]

The son of actor and theatre producer Chandler Cowles, he was born in New York City.


In 1966 Cowles played the title role in Edward Albee's short-lived adaptation of James Purdy's comic novel Malcolm on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre.[1]

In 1968, he appeared with Al Pacino and John Cazale in Israel Horovitz's The Indian Wants the Bronx.[2]

In 1983, Cowles joined The Mirror Theater Ltd's Mirror Repertory Company for their first repertory season, performing in Paradise Lost, Rain, Inheritors, and The Hasty Heart.[3]

Cowles' first television part was Joe Czernak in the series NYPD in 1969. He was nominated for a Daytime Emmy as Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series in 1978 and as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Daytime Drama Series in 1981, both for his part as Billy Clyde Tuggle in All My Children, a role that he created and wrote.[4]

Cowles' first film was the comedy drama Me, Natalie (1969) in which he played Harvey Belman. Al Pacino also made his debut in this film.

In 2010, Cowles played a supporting role in Martin Scorsese's film Shutter Island.

Cowles also starred in three short plays for the public radio show and podcast, Playing On Air.[5][6][7][8]

Personal life[edit]

In 1983 he married actress Christine Baranski with whom he had two daughters, Isabel (born 1984) and Lily (born 1987). In a New York Times profile of his wife, he was described as “the black sheep member of a family with ties" to Drexel banking and the Cowles Publishing Company.[9] He was an enthusiastic motorcycle rider.[4] Matthew Cowles died from congestive heart failure on May 22, 2014.[10]

Cowles was a devout Roman Catholic[11] and taught religious education at the Church of the Nativity.[12]




Stage credits[edit]



  • Mexican Standoff at Fat Squaw Springs[4]
  • Our Daily Bread[4]
  • Noblesse Oblige[4]


  1. ^ a b c d League, The Broadway. "Matthew Cowles – Broadway Cast & Staff - IBDB".
  2. ^ Lortel Archives
  3. ^ Gussow, Mel. "THEATER: MIRROR REP, IN A REVIVAL OF 'RAIN'." The New York Times. The New York Times, 10 Mar. 1984. Web. 10 Jan. 2017. <>.
  4. ^ a b c d e '2004 Speaker Biographies'. Samuel Dorsky Symposium on Public Monuments (2004) Archived January 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ PlayingOnAir (December 8, 2014). "Matthew Cowles". Playing On Air. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  6. ^ PlayingOnAir (September 28, 2015). "New Podcast! GETTING IN by Frank Gilroy". Playing On Air. Archived from the original on July 1, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  7. ^ "Page not found – Playing On Air". Retrieved August 4, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ PlayingOnAir (February 21, 2016). "New Podcast! The Strangest Kind of Romance by Tennessee Williams". Playing On Air. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  9. ^ Horyn, Cathy. "Main Course -Christine Baranski -'I Was Never Beautiful' ", New York Times, April 17, 2011
  10. ^ "Actor Matthew Cowles Passes Away". Broadway World. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
  11. ^ Salfen, Ronald P. (February 20, 2008). "An Interview with Christine Baranski". Faith in Films.
  12. ^ "Matthew Cowles was not like his evil soap character - Archives".
  13. ^ "SUPER VILLAIN 'BILLY CLYDE TUGGLE' RETURNS TO THE BELOVED DRAMA 'ALL MY CHILDREN'" (PDF). Retrieved May 8, 2013.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]