Lee Wallace, a veteran of the stage and screen who appeared on Broadway regularly from the late 1960s and into the ‘90s, died December 20 at the age of 90 following complications from an illness.
The actor made his Broadway debut in 1969’s A Teaspoon Every Four Hours, which had a preview period of 97 performances before closing on its official opening night. A series of limited (but nonetheless lengthier) runs on the Main Stem followed, including Unlikely Heroes, The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild, Zalmen or The Madness of God, The Cemetery Club, and, lastly, The Apple Doesn’t Fall…, directed by Leonard Nimoy.
Born Leo Melis July 15, 1930, Mr. Wallace was born and raised in NYC and studied acting at NYU before enlisting in the army. Prior to his Broadway debut, he appeared in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and St. Joan at Williamstown Theatre Festival, and would go on to become a regular at the Massachusetts venue for the next few years.
On screen, Mr. Wallace had a knack for playing NYC—or NYC-adjacent—mayors, playing one in 1974’s The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and for Gotham in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman adaptation (with many noting his resemblance to NYC Mayor Ed Koch). His other film credits included Klute, The Hot Rock, and Private Benjamin.
Mr. Wallace is survived by wife Marilyn Chris and son Paul.