Although Wallace, a Jacksonville, FL native, had a respectable record as a professional (20-7-0), his claim to fame came in 1948 when, as an amateur, he defeated future heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano in the finals of the New York Golden Gloves Tournament.
Wallace's contract was "owned" under the table by the notorious Frank "Blinky" Palermo, a member of the Philadelphia crime family. Palermo was imprisoned in 1961 for conspiracy and extortion for the covert ownership of prizefighters.
After boxing, Wallace acted in four movies, twice portraying the boxer Joe Louis.
- The Joe Louis Story (1953) - Joe Louis
- Carib Gold (1957) - Ryan
- Raging Bull (1980) - Joe Louis - Cerdan Fight
- Rooftops (1989) - Lester (final film role)
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