19 January, 2009
Irving Wallace was an American bestselling author and screenwriter, penned best-selling books that were extensively researched, including such page-turners as The Chapman Report (1960), about human sexuality; The Prize (1962), a fictional behind-the-scenes account of the Nobel Prizes (1972); and The Word (1972), about the discovery of a new gospel. Wallace was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he attended Kenosha Central High School.
Wallace began selling stories to magazines when he was a teenager. After serving in World War II, he continued to write for magazines, but soon turned to a more lucrative job as a Hollywood screenwriter. He collaborated on such films as The West Point Story (1950), Split Second (1953), Meet Me at the Fair (1953), and The Big Circus (1959).
After an unsatisfying stint in Hollywood, he devoted himself full-time to writing books. He published his first nonfiction work in 1955, The Fabulous Originals, and his first fiction offering, The Sins of Philip Fleming, in 1959. The latter, ignored by critics, was followed by the enormously successful The Chapman Report.
Wallace was a prolific author and published 33 books during his lifetime, all translated into 31 different languages.
Irving Wallace was married to Sylvia Wallace, a former magazine writer and editor. Her first novel, The Fountains, was an American best seller and published in twelve foreign editions. Her second novel, Empress, was published in 1980. She also helped produce, along with their two children, The Book of Lists #2. Sylvia Wallace died October 20, 2006 at the age of 89.
Several of Wallace's books have been made into films. Among his best known books are The Chapman Report (1960), The Prize (1962), The Word (1972) and The Fan Club (1974). He also produced some notable non-fiction works, including several editions of The People's Almanac and The Book of Lists.
Wallace died of pancreatic cancer in 1990 and was interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.