Amy Wallace

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Amy Wallace
Born Amy Deborah Wallace
July 3, 1955
Los Angeles, United States[1]
Died August 10, 2013(2013-08-10) (aged 58)
Los Angeles, United States
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Period 1976–2013
Spouse Josef Marc
Relatives David Wallechinsky, brother

Amy Wallace (July 3, 1955 – August 10, 2013[2]) was an American writer.

Early life[edit]

She was the daughter of writers Irving Wallace and Sylvia Wallace and the sister of writer and populist historian David Wallechinsky.


Wallace was to write books of lists that included topics from the rare, curious and unusual to crime and horror. In 1977, she was living in Berkeley on her brother's commune during school breaks, working with him and their father on what was to become a #1 bestseller, The Book of Lists. The book ran to three editions compiled with her father and brother. One included her mother.

Wallace used the lists format in two further books not written with her family. In 2007, she compiled The Official Punk Rock Book of Lists with Handsome Dick Manitoba and the following year she co-wrote The Book of Lists: Horror with Del Howison and her boyfriend Scott Bradley.

In 1990 she also wrote an erotic novel, Desire.

Personal life[edit]

Wallace had a relationship with Carlos Castaneda, which she wrote about in her memoir, Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda, published in 2003. The book was the first to reveal life with the reclusive anthropologist, with details of his hitherto mysterious "inner circle" who lived with him on a closed compound.[3]

In an interview nine months before her death, Amy Wallace said that Irving was "virtually a perfect dad – a wonderful, loving man, who did a lot of the things one would expect a mother to do: when I wet the bed at three in the morning when I was little, he uncomplainingly got up and changed them; he cut out my paper dolls; when I had a nightmare he got up with me, no matter what time, to share a cup of tea and talk about it."

Of her mother Sylvia, Wallace was less complimentary, "My mother was sadistic and for the most part, awful and cruel to my brother and I. She sexually abused me, and verbally abused me constantly, and in public. My father often intervened, but was not always there to do it, and I was too confused to tell him about the sexual interference."

She was married for seven years to Josef Marc, a musician. She dedicated her biography of William James Sidis titled The Prodigy to him. They divorced amicably in 1986, and he spoke at her funeral.


She died of a heart condition in August 2013. She was 58.[4]



  1. ^ "Amy Deborah Wallace, Born 07/03/1955 in California". July 3, 1955. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  2. ^ Crew, Adrienne (August 16, 2013). "Amy Wallace, RIP – Native Intelligence". Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  3. ^ Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda. North Atlantic Books, 2003. ISBN 978-1-58394-076-1
  4. ^ "PASSINGS: Lee Thompson Young, Amy Wallace, Cedar Walton". August 19, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 

External links[edit]