Matthew Cowles – Wikipedia

American actor (1944–2014)

Matthew Cowles

Matthew Cowles Jennifer West.jpg

Cowles and Jennifer West in the play Malcolm in 1966.

Born (1944-09-28)September 28, 1944
Died May 22, 2014(2014-05-22) (aged 69)

New York City, U.S.

Occupation Actor
Years active 1969–2014

Kathleen Dezina

(m. 1980; div. 1982)

Children 2, including Lily
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.[1]

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.[2]

In 1968, he appeared with Al Pacino and John Cazale in Israel Horovitz’s The Indian Wants the Bronx.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6][7][8][9]

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 Cowles publishing and Drexel banking”.[10]
He was an enthusiastic motorcycle rider.[5]

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

Matthew Cowles died from congestive heart failure on May 22, 2014.[13]




Stage credits[edit]



  • Mexican Standoff at Fat Squaw Springs[5]
  • Our Daily Bread[5]
  • Noblesse Oblige[5]


  1. ^ Simonson, Robert (May 27, 2014). “Matthew Cowles, Actor and Husband of Christine Baranski, Dies”. Playbill. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d League, The Broadway. “Matthew Cowles – Broadway Cast & Staff – IBDB”.
  3. ^ Lortel Archives
  4. ^ Gussow, Mel. “THEATER: MIRROR REP, IN A REVIVAL OF ‘RAIN’.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 10 March 1984. Web. 10 January 2017. <>.
  5. ^ a b c d e ‘2004 Speaker Biographies’. Samuel Dorsky Symposium on Public Monuments (2004) Archived January 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ PlayingOnAir (December 8, 2014). “Matthew Cowles”. Playing On Air. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ “Matthew Cowles”. Playing On Air. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Horyn, Cathy. “Main Course -Christine Baranski -‘I Was Never Beautiful’ “, New York Times, April 17, 2011
  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. ^ “Actor Matthew Cowles Passes Away”. Broadway World. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
  14. ^ “SUPER VILLAIN ‘BILLY CLYDE TUGGLE’ RETURNS TO THE BELOVED DRAMA ‘ALL MY CHILDREN’ (PDF). Retrieved May 8, 2013.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]