Saturday, May 24, 2014

Matthew Cowles Dead at 69

Matthew Cowles
Actor and playwright Matthew Cowles passed away at home on May 22. He was 69.

His manager Tsu Tsu Stanton tweeted the news, "#Matthew Cowles passed away on 5/22.I had the pleasure of being his manager. He was a very gifted and kind man who loved life and everyone."

Matthew Cowles was born on September 28, 1944, the son of actor and theater producer Chandler Cowles. His career spanned six decades and included memorable roles on both stage and screen.

Cowles first soap opera role was Chris Kahlman in ABC's A World Apart from 1970-1971.

In 1977 he joined the cast of another ABC daytime drama, All My Children, in what would be his most memorable role, comedic pimp Billy Clyde Tuggle. Cowles was nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards during his first run on the show (1977-1980).

In 1983 Cowles moved to CBS' As the World Turns, where he played another bad guy, Lonnie.

After a short return to All My Children in 1984, Cowles said he was not enamored of the soap opera genre.

"I like playing Billy but I'm not crazy about the medium and I wouldn't mes around with any other character. You might as well be doing movies. I've found in films you don't really have much responsibility, like you do in a play."

A year later he was cast his third ABC daytime drama, Loving, in the role of hillbilly Eban Japes.

Cowles returned to All My Children for another run as Billy Clyde (1989-1990).

In 1997 he played the short-term role of Curtis Love on CBS' The Bold and the Beautiful.

Cowles revisited Billy Clyde on final time in 2013 when All My Children was revived as a web series.

The 1966 "Malcolm" Broadway cast included  Matthew
Cowles and Jennifer West.
His Broadway credits include "Malcolm" (1966), "The Time of Your Life" (1969), and "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1975). Plays he wrote include "Mexican Standoff at Fat Squaw Springs," "Our Daily Bread" and "Noblesse Oblige."

In primetime television, Cowles played roles in Lonesome Dove, Oz, Life on Mars, and many more.

Among his many movie credits were The Juror (1996), American Loser (2007) and Shutter Island (2010). His most recent short film, Family on Board (2014), is currently in post-production.

Cowles married actress Christine Baranski in 1983, and they had two daughters together. He was previously married to actress Kate Dezina, who played Estelle LaTour on All My Children.


  1. Sad news. He was good and memorable as Billy Clyde, making the character both funny and menacing. I'll bet he and Christine Baranski were a fun pair. My condolences to her, their daughters, family, and friends. Had the picture on this post of him from 1966 not captioned, I would have guessed that the guy was a young Christopher Atkins.

  2. This is a huge loss for the soap industry....he was truly gifted actor who played one of daytime's most memorable and colorful characters. My thoughts are with his family, friends and fans.

  3. Thank you for this posting. I will never forget Billy Clyde Tuggle. It was a groundbreaking storyline for that time. I had no idea of any of this information about his life, it is very nice to read all of this. Had no idea he was married once to Estelle or to Christine Baranski, I just love her. My heart goes out to his family and friends, may he R.I.P.