An American actress and author, she is best remembered for her high-profile marriages to writer William Saroyan and actor Walter Matthau. Additionally, she inspired the Holly Golightly character in Truman Capote's famous novella, Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Her 1995 novella, The Secret in the Daisy, was based on her childhood experiences in the foster care system.
She was twice married to Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, William Saroyan. In 1959, she married Walter Matthau; the couple remained together until Matthau's death.
She was rumored to have been the illegitimate daughter of actor Leslie Howard.