Carl Mathews

Carl Mathews (February 19, 1903 – May 3, 1959), also sometimes credited as Carl Matthews, was an American character actor and stuntman of the 1930s through 1950s. Born on February 19, 1903 in Oklahoma, his first film role would be in Rough Riding Ranger in 1935. Over the next 33 years, Mathews appeared in over 200 films, shorts, and television shows, either as a performer or a stuntman.[1]

Carl Mathews
Mathews, circa 1942
Born(1903-02-19)February 19, 1903
Oklahoma, United States
DiedMay 3, 1959(1959-05-03) (aged 60)
Los Angeles County, California, United States
Years active1935–58

Early life

Mathews was born in 1903 on the Cherokee reservation in Oklahoma to Sam and Hattie Mathews, and grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma[2] This birth year of 1903 holds throughout his census records through 1940, however, his death certificate lists his date of birth as 1899. His records in the Dawes Rolls show that he was 1/8 Cherokee. His father was a butcher. He was a veteran of World War I, and served in the merchant marines during the 1920s,[3] although by the end of the decade he was working for the railroads as a switchman.[4] He married his wife Margaret at some point in the 1920s, and they had a son, Carl Jr. in 1930. The family lived in Muskogee.[4] The family moved to Los Angeles at some point in the early 1930s, and were living there by 1935;[5] it was at this point when Mathews began his career in film.[1]

Film career

Mathews began his film career with the role of Cinch Clemons in the low-budget western, Rough Riding Ranger.[6] During his career he had roles in over 60 feature films, and appeared in over 150 others in either very small roles, as a stuntman or as a body double.[3] Most of his roles were in the part of one of the underlings of the antagonist in the film.[3] In addition to his acting, many of his film appearances were as a stuntman or body double. Some of the films he performed stunt work in include: Heroes of the Alamo (1937), Billy the Kid's Gun Justice (1940), Billy the Kid Trapped (1942), and Buffalo Bill Rides Again (1947); as well as movie serials such as The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok. He was the body double for Fred Scott, as well as Ray "Crash" Corrigan.[3] Later in his career, he appeared in several television series, most notably The Cisco Kid, for which he appeared in a couple of dozen episodes.[3][7]


(Per AFI database)[1]

Personal life

At some point shortly after Mathews entered the film industry, he divorced from his first wife, Margaret, who returned to Oklahoma with their son, to live with her mother and father.[5] By 1940, Mathews had remarried, his new wife was named Irene.[8] This marriage was also unsuccessful, and the two divorced.[3] Mathews died on May 3, 1959 in Los Angeles County, California, of cirrhosis of the liver.[3]


  1. "Carl Mathews". American Film Institute. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  2. "Carl Mathews, United States Census, 1910". Family Search. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  3. "Carl Mathews". Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  4. "Carl Mathews, United States Census, 1930". Family Search. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  5. "United States Census, 1940; Oklahoma; Muskogee; Porter Township, Muskogee, Ward 3". Family Search. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  6. "Rough Riding Ranger: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  7. "Carl Mathews". Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  8. "Carl Mathews, United States Census, 1940". Family Search. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
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