Wallace, Irving

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WALLACE, IRVING (1916–1990), U.S. writer. Born in Chicago, Ill., Wallace grew up in Kenosha, Wis., where his father, an immigrant from Russia, was a clerk in a general store. He always wanted to be a writer, Wallace said. He sold his first article, The Horse Laugh, to Horse and Jockey Magazine for $5 while in high school. He attended the Williams Institute in Berkeley, Calif., where he took creative writing courses, and then moved to Los Angeles and began to write full-time in 1937. After service in World War ii, where he wrote scripts for training films, Wallace wrote fiction and nonfiction articles for a number of periodicals. Unable to make ends meet as a magazine writer, he moved into screenwriting. Among the films he worked on were Split Second, The West Point Story, Meet Me at the Fair, and The Big Circus. Turning to fiction, he wrote two books that were ignored by the critics. But in 1960, he published The Chapman Report, a novel about the impact of a sex survey on some Los Angeles suburban women. It became a bestseller, and, as a film in 1962 starring Jane Fonda, Shelley Winters, and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., it was a big moneymaker. In addition to his own books, Wallace collaborated with his wife, Sylvia, his daughter, Amy, and his son, David Wallechinsky, who used the name the family had in Russia. Wallace wrote 15 novels all told, including The Prize (1962), The Nympho and Other Maniacs (1971), and The Guest of Honor (1989).

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]