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|Walter Matthau||Willy Clark|
|George Burns||Al Lewis|
|Richard Benjamin||Ben Clark|
|Lee Meredith||Nurse in Sketch (Miss McIntosh)|
|Carol Arthur||Mrs. Doris Green, Al's Daughter|
|Rosetta LeNoire||Odessa, Willy's nurse|
|F. Murray Abraham||Mechanic|
|Howard Hesseman||Mr. Walsh, Commerical Director|
|James Cranna||Mr. Schaeffer, TV Director|
|Ron Rifkin||T.V. Floor Manager|
"For the price of a movie, you'll feel like a million!"
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, about two legendary (and cranky) comics brought together for a reunion and revival of their famous act. 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.
DVD : 2004-03-30