The Sunshine Boys

The Sunshine Boys Information

The Sunshine Boys is a 1975 American comedy film directed by Herbert Ross and produced by Ray Stark, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and based on the play of the same name by Neil Simon. The cast included real-life experienced vaudevillian actor George Burns as Lewis, Walter Matthau as Clark, and Richard Benjamin as Ben, with Lee Meredith, F. Murray Abraham, Rosetta LeNoire, Howard Hesseman, and Ron Rifkin in supporting roles. This would be Matthau's last Neil Simon movie until 1982's I Ought to Be in Pictures with Ann-Margret and Dinah Manoff.

Woody Allen originally was asked to direct, but he was more interested in playing the role of Lewis and declined the offer. Twenty years later, he would be cast as Lewis in a television adaptation.

Initially, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby were proposed for the leads, but Simon was opposed to the idea, as he felt the roles required Jewish comedians. Several actors, including Groucho Marx and Phil Silvers were considered and the roles eventually were given to real-life vaudevillian veterans Red Skelton and Jack Benny.

Benny was forced to withdraw after being diagnosed with the pancreatic cancer that would soon kill him and recommended his friend and fellow real-life vaudevillian veteran Burns, who had not been in a film since 1939, for the role. Burns' Academy Award-winning role revived his career and redefined his popular image as a remarkably active old comedy star. When Skelton eventually dropped out as well, possibly because he considered the material too "blue", he was replaced by the younger Matthau.


  • Walter Matthau as Willy Clark
  • George Burns as Al Lewis
  • Richard Benjamin as Ben Clark
  • Lee Meredith as Nurse in Sketch (Miss McIntosh)
  • Carol Arthur as Doris Green
  • Rosetta Le Noire as Odessa
  • F. Murray Abraham as Mechanic
  • Howard Hesseman as Mr. Walsh
  • James Cranna as Mr. Schaeffer
  • Ron Rifkin as TV floor manager
  • Jennifer Lee as Helen Clark
  • Fritz Feld as Mr. Gilbert
  • Jack Bernardi as Man at audition
  • Garn Stephens as Eddie the stage manager
  • Santos Morales as Desk clerk
  • Steve Allen (uncredited) as Himself
  • Phyllis Diller (uncredited) as Herself

Awards and nominations

The film won an Academy Award and was nominated for three others:

  • Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Burns, winner)
  • Academy Award for Best Actor (Matthau, nominee)
  • Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (nominee)
  • Academy Award for Best Art Direction (Albert Brenner, Marvin March, nominees)
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (winner)
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Matthau, winner)
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor (Benjamin, winner)
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Burns, nominee)
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay, Motion Picture (nominee)
  • BAFTA Award for Best Actor (Matthau, nominee)
  • BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay (nominee)
  • Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium (winner)

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Sunshine_Boys_%28film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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