Wallace, Sylvia 1917-2006

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Wallace, Sylvia 1917-2006


See index for CA sketch: Born February 18, 1917, in New York, NY; died October 20, 2006, in Brentwood, CA. Editor and author. Once famous as the editor of the Hollywood magazine Photoplay, Wallace was overshadowed by her novelist husband, Irving Wallace, before embarking on her own fiction-writing career. Finishing high school early at sixteen, she got a job at Dell Publishing in the mailroom. From there, she worked her way up to West Coast editor in 1940; she broke a record at the time for being the youngest person ever to hold that position. In the early 1940s her future husband was contributing to a Dell publication, Modern Screen, which is how they met. They married in 1941, and Sylvia Wallace continued to work while her husband served in the U.S. Army Air Forces. Wallace edited Photoplay, which was a leading movie magazine, and met many of Hollywood's brightest stars. Because she was responsible for a considerable amount of movie studio publicity, she was considered to be a powerful figure in Los Angeles. After she gave birth to her second child, however, Wallace became a stay-at-home mother while her husband went on to fame as a novelist. As her children grew older, she discouraged them, unsuccessfully, from following in their father's footsteps. Wallace, who kept busy by editing Irving's books and managing the business side of his career, began to wish she could be more than "Irving Wallace's wife." She finally resolved to write fiction, as well, releasing The Fountains in 1976 and Empress in 1980. Though they sold well, they would be her only novels. She edited two books with family members, The People's Almanac Presents the Book of Lists#2 (1980) and The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People (1981), but otherwise lived the rest of her life quietly in suburban Los Angeles.



Chicago Tribune, October 27, 2006, section 3, p. 8.

Los Angeles Times, October 26, 2006, p. B11.