Chris Wallace

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For other people named Chris Wallace, see Chris Wallace (disambiguation).
Chris Wallace
Chris Wallace.jpg
Wallace in Washington, D.C., February 23, 2010
Born (1947-10-12) October 12, 1947 (age 68)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation Host of Fox News Sunday (Fox)
Years active 1964–present
Spouse(s) Lorraine (Martin) Smothers (1997–present)
Elizabeth Jane Farrell (1973–? divorced)
Children 4
Parent(s) Mike Wallace (father)
Norma Kaphan (mother)
Bill Leonard (stepfather)
Website (biography on Fox News)

Christopher "Chris" Wallace (born October 12, 1947)[1] is a television anchor who is the host of the Fox Broadcasting Company/Fox News Channel program Fox News Sunday. Wallace has won three Emmy Awards and the Dupont-Columbia Silver Baton Award. Wallace has been with Fox News since 2003. As a previous moderator of Meet the Press, Wallace is the only person to date to have served as host/moderator of more than one of the major Sunday political talk shows.[citation needed]

Early life and early career[edit]

Wallace was born in Chicago, Illinois,[1] the son of longtime CBS 60 Minutes reporter Mike Wallace and Norma Kaphan.[2] Both his parents were Jewish.[3][4] His parents divorced when he was one year old. He grew up with his stepfather, future CBS News President Bill Leonard.[5] He did not develop a relationship with his biological father until the age of 14.[6] Leonard gave him early exposure to political journalism, hiring him as an assistant to Walter Cronkite at the 1964 Republican National Convention.

Wallace as a reporter for WBBM-TV, 1975.

Wallace attended The Hotchkiss School and Harvard College. He first reported news on-air for WHRB, the student radio station at Harvard. He memorably covered the 1969 occupation of University Hall by students and was detained by Cambridge police, using his one phone call to sign off a report from Cambridge City Jail.[7]

Although accepted at Yale Law School, Wallace instead took a job with The Boston Globe.[8] He says he realized he wanted to move to television when he noticed all the reporters at the 1972 political conventions were watching the proceedings on TV instead of in person. For a time in the early 1970s, he worked for Chicago CBS owned-and-operated station WBBM-TV.[9]

Network and cable television journalist[edit]

Wallace interviews Maryland governor Larry Hogan in 2015.

Wallace began his network journalism career with NBC in 1975, where he stayed for 14 years, as a reporter with WNBC-TV in New York City. Wallace then transferred to NBC's Washington bureau as a political correspondent for NBC News, and later served as Washington co-anchor for the Today show in 1982. He also served as chief White House correspondent (1982–89), moderator of Meet the Press (1987–88), and anchor of the Sunday edition of NBC Nightly News. Wallace's confrontational style was evident during President Ronald Reagan's news conference in March 1987, when Reagan admitted to dealing arms for hostages. During his questioning, Wallace asked Reagan why he had denied that Israel was involved with the arms sales to Iran "when you knew that wasn't true."[10]

Wallace left NBC in 1989 for ABC. At ABC News, Wallace was the senior correspondent for Primetime Thursday and occasionally hosted Nightline. During the first Gulf War in 1991, he reported from Tel Aviv on the Iraqi Scud missiles attacks. At the time, the Israeli Government did not want to advertise where the Scuds landed, in order to prevent the Iraqis from making adjustments to their launchers. On one episode of Nightline, Wallace started describing the location in Tel Aviv where a Scud missile landed. Nightline host Ted Koppel cut him off, and asked him to point to a general area rather than give a specific location.[11]

After another 14 years at ABC, Wallace left in 2003 to join the Fox News Channel. He has remarked in the past that his work at Fox opened his eyes to what critics cite as bias in the mainstream press. Wallace has stated, "Fox News wouldn't exist if it weren't for this kind of stuff going on in the mainstream media. That's why people are fed up with that and want the antidote to it because they get it and they've gotten it for years – the so-called bias in the objective press."[12] Wallace began hosting Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace in 2003 after replacing Tony Snow and is an occasional guest on the Howie Carr show on Boston's WRKO.


Personal life[edit]

Despite Wallace's blood relationship with his father Mike, his stepfather Bill Leonard had far more of an impact. Wallace stated that Leonard was "the single most important person in my life."[14] Wallace first developed a relationship with his father in his teens, after his older brother Peter died in 1962 climbing a mountain in Greece.[15]

Wallace has been married twice:

  • In 1973, he married Elizabeth Farrell with whom he has four children: Peter,[16] Margaret, Andrew, and Catherine.[17]
  • In 1997, he married Lorraine Smothers (née Martin) (b. 1959), the former wife of comedian Dick Smothers.[18] Lorraine has two children from her marriage to Smothers: Sarah Smothers and Remick Smothers.[19][20]

Wallace is on the Board of Selectors of Jefferson Awards for Public Service.[21]

Political affiliation[edit]

On October 11, 2006, The Washington Post revealed that Wallace had been a registered Democrat for more than two decades. Wallace explained his party affiliation in terms of pragmatism, insisting that being a Democrat is the only feasible means of participating in the political process in heavily Democratic Washington, D.C. He maintained he had voted for candidates from both major parties in the past.[22]


  1. ^ a b Murray, Michael D., ed. (1998). Encyclopedia of Television News. Greenwood. p. 273. ISBN 978-1573561082. 
  2. ^ Kennedy, Randy (1994-10-24). "William Leonard, 78, Former Head of CBS News.". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-06-27. After retiring Mr. Leonard lived in Washington with his second wife, the former Norma Kaphan Wallace, ex-wife of the "60 Minutes" correspondent, Mike Wallace. 
  3. ^ Tim Weiner (April 8, 2012). "Mike Wallace, CBS Pioneer of '60 Minutes,' Dies at 93". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  4. ^ Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish By Abigail Pogrebin retrieved March 30, 2013.
  5. ^ Shea, Danny (April 13, 2009). "Chris Wallace On Playing Newsman With His Stepfather, Why Roger Ailes Is Like Roone Arledge". Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  6. ^ "Newsman Mike Wallace dead at 93 –". April 8, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  7. ^ Levinson, Arlene (March 15, 1989). "Harvard Alumni Plan Reunion To Mark Shutting Down University in 1969". The Associated Press. 
  8. ^ Singer, Jonathan (July 14, 2005). "Son of '60 Minutes' icon makes his own mark at Fox News". The Hill. p. 19. 
  9. ^ Anonymous (2010-04-13). "Harvard's WHRB celebrates 70 years – Cambridge, Massachusetts – Cambridge Chronicle". Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  10. ^ Church, George J.; Beckwith, David; Gorey, Hays (March 30, 1987). "Reagan: Well, He Survived". Time. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  11. ^ Richmond, Ray (January 20, 1991). "Networks wary of broadcasting military secrets". The Orange County Register. p. A05. 
  12. ^ "Chris Wallace: Media Bias 'Astonishing'". 2005-10-16. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  13. ^ "Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved 2014-05-27. 
  14. ^ "Fox News anchor Chris Wallace credits his success to 'three giants of broadcasting'". The Washington Post. March 8, 2012.
  15. ^ Deborah Solomon. "The Newsman Makes News". The New York Times. October 8, 2006.
  16. ^ "Weddings/Celebrations; Jennifer Breheny, Peter Wallace". The New York Times. June 27, 2004.
  17. ^ Martha Smilgis. "For Chris Wallace of NBC's Prime Time, His 60 Minutes Rivals Are Dan, Morley, Harry—and Dad". People. July 30, 1979.
  18. ^ "Ex-wife Of Dick Smothers". Chicago Tribune. September 21, 1986.
  19. ^ Erik Meers. "Passages". People. July 21, 1997.
  20. ^ Film Reference: Chris Wallace Biography (1947–). Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  21. ^
  22. ^ Argetsinger, Amy (2006-10-11). "Chris Wallace, Card-Carrying Democrat?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Tony Snow
Fox News Sunday anchor
December 7, 2003 – present
Preceded by
Marvin Kalb
Meet the Press Moderator
May 10, 1987 – December 4, 1988
Succeeded by
Garrick Utley