George D. Wallace


George D. Wallace

Infobox actor
name = George D. Wallace


caption =
birthdate = June 8, 1917
birthplace = New York City, New York
deathdate = July 22, 2005
deathplace = Los Angeles, California

George Dewey Wallace (June 8, 1917July 22, 2005) was an American stage and screen actor.

Wallace co-starred with Mary Martin in the Broadway musical "Jennie" and was nominated for a New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for playing the male lead in "New Girl in Town" opposite Gwen Verdon. But today he may be best remembered for playing Commando Cody in the movie serial "Radar Men from the Moon".

Early years

Wallace was born in New York City. When he was 13 his family moved to McMechen, West Virginia. While still in his teens Wallace worked as a coal miner and also joined the Civilian Conservation Corps.

He joined the U.S. Navy in 1936 and served for eight years. Wallace served in the U.S. Pacific Fleet, where he earned the title of light heavyweight champion.

Career

Films

After leaving the Navy, Wallace worked as a bartender in Hollywood, California. One night gossip columnist Jimmie Fidler was in the bar and heard Wallace singing along with the jukebox for tips. Fidler was impressed with Wallace's voice and introduced him to some contacts at the film studios.

In 1952 Wallace auditioned for a character part in "Radar Men from the Moon" and landed the starring role of Commando Cody. To play Cody, Wallace's outfit consisted of a leather jacket, a silver bullet-shaped helmet, and an atomic-powered rocket pack controlled by three dials: up/down, fast/slow and on/off. Wallace appeared to fly in the serial by lying face-down on a long two-by-four that stuck out horizontally from a platform in front of a rear-projection screen.

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In 1955, on the set of "Forbidden Planet", Walter Pidgeon introduced him to Richard Rodgers.

Wallace's Broadway debut was in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Pipe Dream", starring the operatic soprano Helen Traubel.

Wallace's next break on Broadway came when he was chosen to replace John Raitt in "The Pajama Game" when Raitt left the cast to co-star in the film version of the musical. He starred opposite Mary Martin in the 1963 flop "Jennie".

While appearing in "The Most Happy Fella" at the Long Beach Community Music Theatre (a theatre company competing with Long Beach Civic Light Opera) in 1963, Wallace met Jane A. Johnston, whom he later married. The couple later appeared together in road company productions of "Company", "Kiss Me, Kate", and "Funny Girl".

Death

Wallace died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from injuries he sustained during a fall while on vacation in Pisa, Italy.

He was interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Further reading

* McLellan, Dennis. (2005, July 27). "George D. Wallace, 88; Actor With Baritone Voice Had Film, TV and Broadway Roles". The Los Angeles Times

External links

*


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