Cowles' manager announced his passing on Twitter:
#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.— Tsu Tsu Stanton (@TsuTsuUnlimited) May 23, 2014
Born in New York City, Cowles' first television role was on NYPD in 1969. He went on to create and play Billy Clyde Tuggle on All My Children, a role he reprised over the years from 1977 through 2013. He also won two Daytime Emmys for the part.
All My Children head writer Jean Passanante tweeted her condolences:
So sad to hear about the death of Matthew Cowles, #AMC's one and only Billy Clyde Tuggle. A sweet man and a uniquely talented actor.— Jean Passanante (@PFossil) May 24, 2014
Cowles appeared in numerous films shows including Shutter Island, Nurse Betty and City by the Sea.
In 1983, Cowles wed Baranski, with whom he has two children.