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Tommy Lee Wallace

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Tommy Lee Wallace
Thomas Lee Wallace

(1949-10-08) October 8, 1949 (age 70)
Other namesTommy L. Wallace, Tom Wallace
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, producer
Spouse(s)Nancy Kyes (divorced)

Thomas "Tommy" Lee Wallace (born October 8, 1949) is an American film producer, director, editor, and screenwriter. He is best known for his work in the horror genre, directing films such as Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Fright Night Part 2 and the 1990 mini-series, It. He is a long-time friend and collaborator of director, John Carpenter, receiving his first credit as art director on Carpenter's directorial debut, Dark Star. Along with Charles Bornstein, he edited both the original Halloween and The Fog.

Early life

Born Thomas Lee Wallace in Somerset, Kentucky to Robert G. and Kathleen Wallace, he has one older sister, Linda. He grew up in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and attended high school at Western Kentucky University teachers training school (College High).


Early career

Wallace entered the film business while attending USC film school, starting as an art director and film editor for commercials and industrial films. While in school, he began collaborating with childhood friend and fellow student John Carpenter, working on Carpenter's Dark Star (1974), a low-budget, science-fiction comedy that began as a student film. In 1976, he worked as sound effects editor and art director on Carpenter's second film, Assault on Precinct 13. He continued working with Carpenter, serving as production designer and co-editor of Halloween (1978) and The Fog (1980). In addition to his behind-the-scenes duties for these last two films, Wallace also appeared in front of the camera: intermittently as The Shape (the masked Michael Myers in the closet scene) in Halloween, and in The Fog as several different ghosts; his voice was also featured in both films as TV/radio announcers.

Directorial Debut

For Halloween II, John Carpenter (who was producing) initially offered directorial responsibilities to Wallace. After careful deliberation, Wallace declined, citing disappointment with the script (the job eventually went to Rick Rosenthal). He did, however, agree to write and direct the third film in the franchise, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which was the first and only one to deviate from the "Michael Myers" storyline (Wallace's voice was also featured as the announcer and the munchkin singers in the "Silver Shamrock" commercial).

Work Over the Years

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Wallace continued to write and direct for television and film. Notable work includes writing the screenplay for 1982's Amityville II: The Possession; co-writing and directing 1988's Fright Night Part 2 starring Roddy McDowell; and adapting and directing 1990's made-for-television miniseries, It, based on the novel by Stephen King.

Wallace's work in television was varied, including directing episodes of the cult TV show Max Headroom; the 1980s revival of The Twilight Zone; and Baywatch. At the height of television films popularity in the 1990s, Wallace directed several notable films, including an adaptation of the Vincent Bugliosi novel, And the Sea Will Tell (1991), The Comrades of Summer (1992), Steel Chariots (1997), and The Spree (1998).

In 1986, he performed the title song of Carpenter's film Big Trouble in Little China as part of the band The Coup de Villes, alongside Carpenter and another friend, Nick Castle.


  • Gorezone Magazine (USA) 1988, Iss. 3, pg. 44–47, by: Marc Shapiro, "Tommy Lee Wallace Leaves the Carpenter Nest"

Personal life

Wallace is divorced from actress Nancy Kyes, with whom he has two children. He still lives in California and continues to write.



Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
1981 Nominated Saturn Award Best Special Effects for The Fog
Shared with:
Richard Albain
James F. Liles
1991 Won ACE Award Writing a Movie or Miniseries for El Diablo
Shared with:
John Carpenter
Bill Phillips
1989 Nominated International Fantasy Film Award Best Film for Fright Night Part 2


Further reading

  • "The Devil (and Dino) Made Him Do It!" by Lee Gambin, Fangoria magazine No. 317, October 2012, pages 58–59. 97. Interview of screenwriter Tommy Lee Wallace regarding his scripting of Amityville II: The Possession. Three-page article has five photos, one of Wallace.
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Tommy Lee Wallace
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