Walter Matthau in Los Angeles, California, USA
It’s funny, even though this was shot in one of LA’s most ritzy exclusive hotels, a hiding place for movie stars, when I look at this photo I think of New York City. Mr. Matthau was telling us so many funny old time jokes reminiscent of vaudeville. The face he’s making is on the punch line of one.
Place you live? I live in the infamous MacArthur Park area of LA. The movie Rampart, an amazing film, starring Woody Harrelson was all shot in my neighborhood.
Specific place your photo was taken? Mr. Matthau was shot in a public hallway of the Hotel Bel Air.
What was your first job? My first job was washing pots and pans in the kitchen of a macrobiotic restaurant in Greenwich Village during summer vacation from school, 1970. My first photography job was shooting an actor’s head-shots, 1972 in Manhattan. My first magazine shoot was for New York Magazine shooting a portrait of a chef for an article about his restaurant.
What was the wildest thing you have experienced while photographing a celebrity? Someone once got very drunk, vomiting ensued, stripped naked and curled up in their bathtub cradling a shotgun. Can’t tell you who and no one has ever seen these photos.
How did you get into acting and what movie was your favorite to be in? I got into acting from being around actors for so many years, hanging out with them, being backstage at theaters and on movie sets, thinking I’d really like to be doing this. Favorite movie to be in was probably “Pirates of the Caribbean” even though I shot on that for just one day. I got to act with Johnny Depp. Got to do my cockney accent. Which I love and even fooled some brit actors on set. And pretend to be in a dungeon all night. It was a lot of fun.
What’s your favorite thing about LA? I love the vastness and diversity of LA. Culturally, creatively there is so much going on here.- I think its safe to say more than anywhere else right now. Which is what I use to say about New York City. But New York doesn’t have the diversity of landscape that we have here. And cliché as it sounds, you can’t beat the weather.
What is the worst thing about LA? I don’t see a worst thing here. More subways would be great. And they’re working on it. There’s one 2 blocks from my place that can take me downtown or into Hollywood. It’s great not to always need the car.
If someone was visiting LA what must they do? That’s a tough one, like asking what one should do if they visit New York City. It’s so vast, there’s so much to do. But I remember when I first came here on a visit a friend took me up to Mulholland Drive at night and the views of the city are epic, Spielbergian… a must see and it’s free.
Tell us about your new projects: Just shooting more and more after a long break from it. Coming back to it refreshed and excited to show up for it everyday. Loving all the new technology. Excited about the possibilities it offers.