Who is Larry Mathews?

If you were a fan of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” which aired from 1961 until 1966, then you must be familiar with the character of Ritchie Petrie, portrayed by Larry Mathews. He appeared in 158 episodes of this family comedy, that had 49 award nominations, winning 27 including 15 Primetime Emmys.

Besides the aforementioned role, Larry Mathews has five acting credits to his name, however, he is perhaps still known best as little Ritchie, although he is now a grown man. If you are one of those interested in what happened to him, and what he’s doing now, let us tell you all.

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Early life, family, and education

Larry Mathews (birth name Larry Mazzeo) was born on 15 August 1955, in Burbank, California USA – until this day, it’s unknown when and why he changed his surname. Also, there isn’t much known about his parents, except that they raised him together in his hometown. Larry hasn’t shared their names and occupations, and also hasn’t spoken about having any siblings, so many believe that he is an only child.

Speaking of his educational background, Larry had a tutor during the filming of “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, and even skipped a grade, however, he returned to the classroom when the shooting finished. In one of his interviews, he said that it was hard for him to relate to his classmates after spending so much time with adults.

After he graduated from high school in 1973, Larry enrolled at the University of California in Los Angeles, from which he graduated with a BS degree, in 1977. Following his graduation, he began serving as an account executive, appearing periodically on television to discuss his role as Ritchie Petrie.

Acting career

Larry made his acting debut playing his recognizable role in “The Dick Van Dyke Show” which followed the story of the life and work of a TV writer, Rob Petrie, and his hilarious misadventures both at home and work. The stars of the series were Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, and Rose Marie with whom Larry shares the same birthday (obviously not the same year).

An interesting fact about the show is that the creator, Carl Reiner would ask cast and crew members to tell him about some funny things that had happened to them, and then he would write episodes based on actual events.

Concurrently, Larry made an appearance as Stevie in the episode “Tomorrow, the Man” of the series “The Dick Powell Theatre” in 1962.

After “The Dick Van Dyke Show”

After more than 30 years, Larry was cast to play Richie in the 1993 movie “Chairman’s Choice”,  and was again seen as Richie Petrie in the 2004 TV movie “The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited”, which was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Program, and the Art Directors Guild Excellence in Production Design Award for Variety or Awards Show, Music Special or Documentary.

In 2011, Larry was seen as Jack Accardo Junior in the short movie “A Day in the Life of Plain Jen”, starring Carrie Lynn Certa, Kyle Heste, and Ryan Haake. This action-adventure followed the story of Jen, a geeky girl who moved to Los Angeles to feel some excitement, and have an adventure in a big city, however, she gets in trouble with the mob who tries to kill her. The movie won the Accolade Competition Award of Excellence.

Larry was most recently seen in an episode of the series “TV Therapy” in 2021, playing the character of Richie with his past baggage and present-day issues, which he shares with Doctor Stephen Nielsen, a therapist played by Terry Ray.

Some comments were saying that Larry was the worst child actor, which made fans of the series respond by saying that he was just five years old when he began acting, but that he was excellent. One fan wrote for tvbanter.net that she disagreed with the critic saying ‘he was terrific, and enhanced the Dick Van Dyke show with his adorable and believable portrayal of Richie Petrie’.

Larry Mathews' memorable rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy" on the show's Christmas episode may have been his most…

Posted by The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book on Friday, December 16, 2016

Another interesting fact about the character of Richie is that he had a recognizable, cute voice, and one of the most favorite episodes of the show was the Christmas episode, “The Alan Brady Show Presents”, which aired on 18 December 1963, in which Ritchie sang the song “Little Drummer Boy”.

Larry spoke about his experience during the filming of the show, saying that it was a wonderful experience, and besides he took great memories with him – he also owns the table that Carl Reiner used as a prop on “The Dick Van Dyke Show”.

Other credits

During the early ‘80s, Larry worked as a post-production co-ordinator, and was credited as Larry Mazzeo working on 32 episodes of the series “Soap” from 1979 until 1981. This romantic comedy-drama starring Katherine Helmond, Richard Mulligan and Rod Roddy won four Primetime Emmys.

Concurrently, he worked on 45 episodes of the two times Primetime Emmy-awarded series “Benson”, and was also credited under the surname Mazzeo.

Love life and wife

Larry hasn’t been the subject of any affairs and controversies, since when he was in the spotlight he was just a boy, and later he largely withdrew from public life, thus people haven’t been interested in his love life and his sexual orientation.

However, Larry is a married man, and his wife is named Jennifer. They exchanged their wedding vows back in 1987, and as of 2022, they are still together. There is nothing known about his wife, and there is no record of them having children.

Net worth

Larry is now aged 67, and he seems to live a peaceful life. He has no other social media accounts, except his Instagram which is private, thus it’s hard to find out more about his life. According to sources, the average salary for an account executive in the US is around $70,000 per year, and there is no information on how much Larry was paid for starring in the famous sitcom.

His net worth has been estimated at over $2 million.

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