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Broadway Leading Man George D. Wallace Passes Away

George D. Wallace, a leading man from the golden age of Broadway and an accomplished film and television actor, passed away at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Friday, July 22nd at 9 PM; he was 88 years old.

The cause of death was cited as complications resulting from a fall that Wallace sustained while vacationing in Pisa, Italy.

Wallace was discovered by gossip columnist Jimmie Fiddler while working at a Hollywood bar in the late '40s. A Navy veteran who had been the light heavyweight champion of the Pacific Fleet before World War II, he was singing along to jukebox hits for tips. After a few minor TV and film appearances, his career was launched when he landed the starring role of Commando Cody in the 1952 film serial Radar Men from the Moon.

Blessed with a smooth baritone voice, Wallace starred opposite two of Broadway's greatest female stars--Gwen Verdon in New Girl in Town (for which he was nominated for a New York Critics' Circle Award) and Mary Martin in Jennie. He replaced John Raitt as Sid in The Pajama Game; other Broadway credits include Rodgers and Hammerstein's Pipe Dream (in which he made his Broadway debut) and The First. He met wife Jane A. Johnston while performing with her in a 1963 production of The Most Happy Fella; they replaced George Coe and Teri Ralston as the pot-smoking couple David and Jenny during the original run of Company and also performed together in stagings of Kiss Me Kate and Funny Girl. Wallace also played King Arthur in a touring company of Camelot, as well as the Innkeeper in Man of La Mancha tours.

"He was a first-rate leading man. He had a wonderful voice and a wonderful masculine stage presence," stated theatre historian Miles Kreuger.

Wallace acted in dozens of films and made over 125 television appearances. Film credits include Minority Report, Nurse Betty, My Girl 2, Postcards from the Edge, The Towering Inferno, The Six Million Dollar Man, Forbidden Planet, Destry, Million Dollar Mermaid and Meet Danny Wilson. On television, he was seen in episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "The X Files," "Chicago Hope," "Picket Fences," "Cagney and Lacey," "Hill Street Blues" and "Bonanza."

Wallace is survived by his wife Jane.




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