WALTER MATTHAU, who died of a heart attack last week at 79, made moviegoers laugh at their own venality--make that humanity. A deft character actor with star quality, he was the ideal mouthpiece for the wisecracks of Neil Simon (The Odd Couple, The Sunshine Boys) and Billy Wilder (The Fortune Cookie). But he didn't need good writing to be funny. Born Walter Matuchanskayasky, he had a posture designed by Rube Goldberg and a lovely snarl of a voice that cut like a foreclosure notice. That got him small, dark roles (he beat up Elvis Presley in King Creole, took a shot...

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