The Secret Life of an American Wife

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The Secret Life of an American Wife
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGeorge Axelrod
Produced byGeorge Axelrod
Written byGeorge Axelrod
StarringWalter Matthau
Anne Jackson
Patrick O'Neal
Edy Williams
Music byBilly May
CinematographyLeon Shamroy
Edited byHarry W. Gerstad
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 25, 1968 (1968-06-25)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,000,000 (US/ Canada)[1]

The Secret Life of an American Wife is a 1968 comedy film written and directed by George Axelrod. The film was released by 20th Century Fox in 1968, and was considered a box-office failure. It features a music score by Billy May. Edy Williams has a supporting role in the film as the Laytons' blonde bombshell neighbor.


Victoria Layton (Anne Jackson) is a suburban housewife who is dissatisfied with her marriage and fears that her sex appeal is fading. Her husband (Patrick O'Neal) works as a press agent, and his only client is a movie star who is known as an international sex symbol (Walter Matthau).

Upon hearing that The Movie Star (the character is not given a name, and Matthau is credited as "The Movie Star" in the closing credits) indulges in the services of prostitutes, Victoria decides to pose surreptitiously as one in order to prove to herself that she is still sexually attractive.



According to Fox records the film required $4,300,000 in rentals to break even and by 11 December 1970 had made $3,725,000 so made a loss to the studio.[2]


  1. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1968", Variety, 8 January 1969, p. 15. Please note this figure is a rental accruing to distributors.
  2. ^ Silverman, Stephen M (1988). The Fox that got away : the last days of the Zanuck dynasty at Twentieth Century-Fox. L. Stuart. p. 327.

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