Tommy Lee Wallace

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Tommy Lee Wallace
Thomas Lee Wallace

(1949-09-06) September 6, 1949 (age 72)
Other namesTommy L. Wallace
Tom Wallace
OccupationFilm director
Spouse(s)Nancy Kyes (divorced)

Thomas Lee Wallace (born September 6, 1949) is an American film producer, director, editor and screenwriter. He is best known for his work in the horror genre, directing the films such as Halloween III: Season of the Witch and Fright Night Part 2 and also directing the 1990 television mini-series adaptation of Stephen King's epic horror novel It. He is a long-time collaborator of director John Carpenter, receiving his first credit as art director on Carpenter's directorial debut Dark Star. Along with Charles Bornstein, he edited both the original Halloween film and The Fog.

Early life[edit]

Born Thomas Lee Wallace in Somerset, Kentucky to Robert G. and Kathleen Wallace, he has one older sister, Linda. He grew up in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and attended high school at Western Kentucky University teachers training school (College High).


Early career[edit]

Wallace entered the film business while attending USC film school, starting as an art director and film editor for commercials and industrial films. While in school, he began collaborating with childhood friend and fellow student John Carpenter, working on Carpenter's Dark Star (1974), a low-budget, science-fiction comedy that began as a student film. In 1976, he worked as sound effects editor and art director on Carpenter's second film, Assault on Precinct 13. He continued working with Carpenter, serving as production designer and co-editor of Halloween (1978) and The Fog (1980). In addition to his behind-the-scenes duties for these last two films, Wallace also appeared in front of the camera: intermittently as The Shape (the masked Michael Myers in the closet scene) in Halloween, and in The Fog as several different ghosts; his voice was also featured in both films as TV/radio announcers.

Directorial debut[edit]

For Halloween II, John Carpenter (who was producing) initially offered directorial responsibilities to Wallace. After careful deliberation, Wallace declined, citing disappointment with the script (the job eventually went to Rick Rosenthal). He did, however, agree to write and direct the third film in the franchise, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which was the first and only one to deviate from the Michael Myers storyline (Wallace's voice was also featured as the announcer and the munchkin singers in the "Silver Shamrock" commercial).

Later work[edit]

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Wallace continued to write and direct for television and film. Notable work includes writing the screenplay for 1982's Amityville II: The Possession; co-writing and directing 1988's Fright Night Part 2 starring Roddy McDowell; and adapting and directing the 1990 television mini-series adaptation of Stephen King's epic horror novel It.

Wallace's work in television was varied, including directing episodes of the cult TV series Max Headroom; the 1980s revival of The Twilight Zone; and Baywatch. At the height of television film popularity in the 1990s, Wallace directed several notable films, including an adaptation of the Vincent Bugliosi novel, And the Sea Will Tell (1991), The Comrades of Summer (1992), Steel Chariots (1997), and The Spree (1998).

In 1986, he performed the title song of Carpenter's film Big Trouble in Little China as part of the band The Coup de Villes, alongside Carpenter and another friend, Nick Castle.

Personal life[edit]

Wallace is divorced from actress Nancy Kyes, with whom he has two children. He still lives in California and continues to write.



Year Title Director Writer Other Role Notes
1974 Dark Star Yes Associate art director
1976 Assault on Precinct 13 Yes Sound effects and art director
1978 Halloween Yes Michael Myers (closet scene) Editor and production designer
1980 The Fog Yes Ghost Editor and production designer
1982 Amityville II: The Possession Yes
1982 Halloween III: Season of the Witch Yes Yes Yes Silver Shamrock Commercial Announcer Voice role
1986 Big Trouble in Little China Yes Second unit director
1986 The Boy Who Could Fly Yes The Coupe de Villes
1988 Aloha Summer Yes
1988 Fright Night Part 2 Yes Yes
1989 Far from Home Yes
1990 El Diablo Yes Television film
1991 And the Sea Will Tell Yes Television film
1992 The Comrades of Summer Yes Television film
1992 Danger Island Yes Television film
1994 Witness to the Execution Yes Television film
1994 Green Dolphin Beat Yes Television film
1996 Born Free: A New Adventure Yes Television film
1996 Once You Meet a Stranger Yes Yes Television film
1997 Steel Chariots Yes Television film
1998 The Spree Yes Television film
1998 Final Justice Yes Television film
2002 Vampires: Los Muertos Yes Yes Yes Scared Guy
2004 12 Days of Terror Yes Television film
2011 The Fields Yes Hotel Bar Patron #4 Associate producer
TBA Helliversity Yes Yes

Unproduced screenplay: The Ninja (1983).

Television series[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Notes
1985–1986 The Twilight Zone Yes Yes Director (2 segments ("Dreams for Sale" and "Little Boy Lost"))
Director and writer (segment "The Leprechaun-Artist")
1987 Max Headroom Yes 2 episodes
1989 Tour of Duty Yes Episode "Nightmare"
1989 CBS Summer Playhouse Yes Episode "Outpost"
1989 A Peaceable Kingdom Yes Episode "Elephant"
1989 Baywatch Yes Episode "Cruise Ship"
1995–1996 Flipper Yes 3 episodes

Television mini-series[edit]

Year Title Director Writer
1990 Stephen King's It Yes Yes


Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
1981 Nominated Saturn Award Best Special Effects for The Fog
Shared with:
Richard Albain
James F. Liles
1991 Won ACE Award Writing a Movie or Miniseries for El Diablo
Shared with:
John Carpenter
Bill Phillips
1989 Nominated International Fantasy Film Award Best Film for Fright Night Part 2

Further reading[edit]

  • "The Devil (and Dino) Made Him Do It!" by Lee Gambin, Fangoria magazine No. 317, October 2012, pages 58–59. 97. Interview of screenwriter Tommy Lee Wallace regarding his scripting of Amityville II: The Possession. Three-page article has five photos, one of Wallace.

External links[edit]