Richard Wallace

Active - 1926 - 1949  |   Born - Aug 26, 1894   |   Died - Nov 3, 1951   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Chicago-born Richard Wallace enrolled in Rush Medical College at age 18, but the money ran out and he had to take whatever jobs that came along. Wallace joined a carnival, where he learned the exacting science of comic timing. Joining the Mack Sennett studios in the early '20s, Wallace worked in the editing department; Sennett's general manager F. Richard Jones took a liking to Wallace, and when Jones moved to Sennett's rival Hal Roach, Wallace came along with him. At Roach, Wallace graduated to directing 2-reelers, frequently in collaboration with another Jones protegee, Stan Laurel. Wallace moved on to feature films with 1926's Syncopating Sue. While Wallace was adept at straight drama like Katharine Hepburn's The Little Minister (1934) and the Edward Arnold vehicle John Meade's Woman (1937), and while he was equally adept at mysteries like A Night to Remember (1942), Wallace's most memorable talkie assignments were in the field of comedy, notably the Harold Lloyd-produced A Girl and Guy and a Gob (1941) and the Fred Allen starrer It's in the Bag (1945). Before his sudden death in 1951, Richard Wallace helmed three of Shirley Temple's "grown-up" films: Kiss and Tell (1945), Adventure in Baltimore (1948), and Temple's last vehicle, A Kiss For Corliss (1949).

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