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Chris Wallace
Chris Wallace (cropped).jpg
Wallace in Washington, D.C., in 2010
Born (1947-10-12) October 12, 1947 (age 72)
Alma materHarvard College (BA)
OccupationHost of Fox News Sunday
Years active1964–present
Notable credit(s)
NBC Nightly News anchor (1982–1987)
Meet the Press moderator (1987–1988)
ABC Primetime correspondent (1989–2003)
Fox News Sunday anchor (2003–present)
Political partyDemocratic
  • Elizabeth Jane Farrell (m. 1973; div.)
  • Lorraine (Martin) Smothers (m. 1997)

Christopher W. Wallace (born October 12, 1947)[1] is an American television anchor and journalist who is the news anchor of the Fox News program Fox News Sunday. He worked for NBC (1975–1988) as a White House correspondent and anchor for NBC Nightly News and host of Meet the Press. He also worked for ABC as an anchor for Primetime Thursday and Nightline (1989–2003), before joining Fox. Wallace is the only person to have served as host and moderator of more than one of the major American Sunday morning political talk shows, which he did during his time at NBC.[2] Wallace has won a Peabody Award, three Emmy Awards, the duPont–Columbia Silver Baton Award, and a Paul White lifetime achievement award.[3]

Early life

Wallace was born in Chicago, Illinois,[1] to longtime CBS 60 Minutes reporter Mike Wallace and Norma Kaphan.[4] Wallace is Jewish[5] and both his parents were Jewish.[6][7] His parents divorced when he was one year old. He grew up in a home with his mother and his stepfather, CBS News President Bill Leonard.[8] He did not develop a relationship with his biological father until the age of 14.[9] 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 as a reporter for WBBM-TV, 1975

Wallace attended the Hotchkiss School and Harvard College.[10] He first reported news on-air for WHRB, the student radio station at Harvard. He memorably covered the 1969 student occupation of University Hall and was detained by Cambridge police, using his one phone call to sign off a report from Cambridge City Jail with "This is Chris Wallace in custody."[11]

Journalism career

Early career

Although accepted at Yale Law School, Wallace instead took a job with The Boston Globe.[12] 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 the Chicago station WBBM-TV, which was owned and operated by CBS.[13]

NBC News: Nightly News, Meet the Press (1975–1988)

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 and news reader for the Today show with Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley in 1982. That same year, he also served as chief White House correspondent (1982–1989), anchor of the Sunday edition of NBC Nightly News (1982–1984, 1986–1987), and moderator of Meet the Press (1987–1988).

Some journalists have described Wallace's style as confrontational. During President Ronald Reagan's news conference in March 1987, when Reagan admitted to dealing arms for hostages, Wallace asked Reagan why he had denied that Israel was involved with the arms sales to Iran "when you knew that wasn't true."[14]

ABC News: Primetime Thursday, Nightline (1989–2003)

Wallace left NBC in 1989 for ABC. Sam Donaldson, ABC's outgoing chief White House correspondent, said he was 'delighted' and 'very pleased' that Wallace, his journalistic rival, will be joining the network saying, 'I've always liked his work, I think he's going to be a plus.'[15] 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, 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. Host Ted Koppel cut him off and asked him to point to a general area rather than give a specific location.[16] Wallace received a News and Documentary Emmy Award nomination for his reporting on Primetime Live segment: Hope Sells.[17]

Wallace interviews Maryland governor Larry Hogan in 2015
Wallace interviews Maryland governor Larry Hogan in 2015

Fox News: Fox News Sunday (2003–present)

After another 14 years at ABC, Wallace left in 2003 to join Fox News. Wallace began hosting Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace in 2003 after replacing Tony Snow. Wallace along with Shepard Smith gained a reputation at FOX for their reputable status as journalists on the network.[18][19] In an interview with The Chicago Tribune, Howard Kurtz wrote, "Fox seems to be inching toward more conventional journalism." When asked about his political opinions, Wallace stated, "But I vote for the person, and I've voted for Republicans and Democrats and independents over the course of my life. I feel very strongly that you try not to let that affect the way you report the news."[19] Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes called Wallace "one of the best interviewers in the business. ... I have no idea what he thinks personally, but he asks tough questions of everybody."[19]

Throughout his 15 years at FOX, Wallace has participated in coverage of nearly every major political event and has also secured several high-profile interviews with dignitaries and U.S leaders. In February 2009, He secured Fox’s first interview with President Barack Obama.[20] On March 3, 2016 Wallace joined Bret Baier, and Megyn Kelly in moderating the 2016 Republican Party Presidential debate on Fox News.[21] In 2017, he interviewed President Donald Trump for his first interview since being elected.

Third presidential debate (2016)

The Commission on Presidential Debates selected Chris Wallace as moderator of the third presidential debate, held on October 19, 2016, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. This was the first time a Fox News anchor had moderated a general election presidential debate.[22] After he was selected, Wallace controversially said, "it's not my job" to fact-check candidates, but that it was the job of the opposing candidate.[23] He received notable praise from both sides of the aisle for his tough questioning of both presidential candidates at that last presidential debate of the 2016 election. Afterwards, Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post said that, despite her strong disapproval of other Fox News commentators, "No one could watch the final debate and deny that Chris Wallace is among the best in the business."[24]

Wallace interviewing Vladimir Putin in 2018
Wallace interviewing Vladimir Putin in 2018

Interview with Vladimir Putin (2018)

In July 2018, Wallace conducted a tough interview with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Wallace questioned Putin about why so many of his political opponents end up dead and, in a notable exchange, sought to hand Putin papers containing the indictment of 12 Russian agents for interference in the 2016 election. (Putin declined to touch the papers.)[25][26] According to The Washington Post's Aaron Blake, Putin was "clearly frustrated by a journalist actually challenging him".[25] His interview earned himself a News and Documentary Emmy Award award for Outstanding Live Interview.[27] This would be the first News and Documentary Award in Fox News' history.[28]

Other Appearances

In July 2019, Wallace appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote a documentary made on his father, legendary journalist Mike Wallace, titled, Mike Wallace is Here.[29]

In December 2019, Wallace stated at the Washington Media Museum that "President Trump is engaged in the most direct sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history".[30] He also stated that in his 50 year career in journalism his highlights include "spending a week with Mother Teresa in Calcutta", as well as covering Reagan across the world for ABC News, and interviewing Vladimir Putin in Helsinki asking him "Why do so many people who oppose you end up dead?"

Accolades and honors

Personal life

Wallace has said that despite his blood relationship with his father, Mike, his stepfather, Bill Leonard, had far more of an impact on his life. Wallace said that Leonard was "the single most important person in my life."[37] Wallace first developed a relationship with his father in his teens, after his older brother Peter died in 1962 climbing a mountain in Greece.[38]

Wallace has been married twice. In 1973, he married Elizabeth Farrell, with whom he has four children: Peter (father of William, Caroline, and James),[39] Megan (mother of Sabine and Livia), Andrew (father of Jack), and Catherine.[40] In 1997, he married Lorraine Smothers (née Martin, born 1959), the former wife of Dick Smothers.[41] Lorraine has two children from her previous marriage: Sarah Smothers and Remick Smothers.[42][43]

On October 11, 2006, The Washington Post reported that Wallace had been a registered Democrat for more than two decades. Wallace explained his party affiliation as pragmatism, saying that being a Democrat is the only feasible means of participating in the political process in heavily Democratic Washington, DC. He maintained that he had voted for candidates from both major parties in the past.[44]


  1. ^ a b Murray, Michael D., ed. (1998). Encyclopedia of Television News. Greenwood. p. 273. ISBN 978-1573561082.
  2. ^ Bevan, Tom (September 18, 2015). "The New Dean of Sunday Mornings". RealClear Politics. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  3. ^ Feloni, Richard (December 9, 2014). "50-Year Broadcast Veteran Chris Wallace On What Common Career Mistake To Avoid". Business Insider. Retrieved May 27, 2019. He's won three Emmys, a DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton award, and a Paul White lifetime achievement award.
  4. ^ Kennedy, Randy (October 24, 1994). "William Leonard, 78, Former Head of CBS News". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2011. 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.
  5. ^ 7 Things About Debate Moderator Chris Wallace — Starting With He’s Jewish by Thea Glassman, The Forward, October 19, 2016
  6. ^ Tim Weiner (April 8, 2012). "Mike Wallace, CBS Pioneer of '60 Minutes,' Dies at 93". The New York Times. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  7. ^ Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish By Abigail Pogrebin retrieved March 30, 2013.
  8. ^ Shea, Danny (April 13, 2009). "Chris Wallace On Playing Newsman With His Stepfather, Why Roger Ailes Is Like Roone Arledge". Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  9. ^ "Newsman Mike Wallace dead at 93 –". April 8, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  10. ^ Yung, Jim. "Famous Alumni: Your House's Claim to Fame". Harvard Crimson. Archived from the original on November 15, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  11. ^
    • Levinson, Arlene (March 15, 1989). "Harvard Alumni Plan Reunion To Mark Shutting Down University in 1969". The Associated Press.
    • Lambert, Craig, ed. (March–April 2019). "Echoes of 1969". Harvard Magazine. Vol. 121 no. 4. pp. 52–60. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  12. ^ Singer, Jonathan (July 14, 2005). "Son of '60 Minutes' icon makes his own mark at Fox News". The Hill. p. 19.
  13. ^ Anonymous (April 13, 2010). "Harvard's WHRB celebrates 70 years – Cambridge, Massachusetts – Cambridge Chronicle". Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  14. ^ Church, George J.; Beckwith, David; Gorey, Hays (March 30, 1987). "Reagan: Well, He Survived". Time. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  15. ^ "Chris Wallace, outgoing NBC White House correspondent, will go..." UPI.
  16. ^ Richmond, Ray (January 20, 1991). "Networks wary of broadcasting military secrets". Orange County Register. p. A05.
  17. ^ "Chris Wallace". IMDb.
  18. ^ Wade, Peter; Wade, Peter (October 12, 2019). "With Shep Smith Gone, Is Fox News' Transition to Propaganda Complete?".
  19. ^ a b c Post, Howard Kurtz, The Washington. "'Straight-news man' Wallace to be 'Fox News Sunday' host".
  20. ^ "Two U.S. Journalists to Receive Top Honors at Prestigious International Media Gala". International Center for Journalists.
  21. ^ "Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace return for March 3 debate". Politico. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  22. ^ "CPD Announces 2016 Debate Moderators". Commission on Presidential Debates.
  23. ^ Why moderators aren’t the best option for fact-checking debates, By David Uberti, CJR, September 12, 2016.
  24. ^ The mainstreaming of racism on Fox News, By Jennifer Rubin October 26, 2016.
  25. ^ a b Blake, Aaron. "Analysis | Fox News's Chris Wallace gives Putin the grilling Trump won't". Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 17, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  26. ^ Wilstein, Matt (July 16, 2018). "Fox News' Chris Wallace Presses Vladimir Putin in Tense Interview After Donald Trump Gives Him a Pass". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  28. ^ Joyella, Mark. "Fox News Gets Its First-Ever News And Documentary Emmy Nomination". Forbes.
  29. ^ "Chris Wallace: People Were Scared When Mike Wallace Showed Up". YouTube. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  30. ^ {{cite web|url= Fox host lambasts Trump over 'most sustained assault on press freedom in US history'|website= The Guardian
  31. ^ "Chris Wallace". National Press Foundation.
  32. ^ "Chris Wallace". Distinguished Speaker Series.
  33. ^ "Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  34. ^ "Chris Wallace, Winner of the 2017 ICFJ Founders Award for Excellence in Journalism". International Center for Journalists. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  35. ^ "Fox News Sunday Anchor Chris Wallace Honored With 'Tex' McCrary Journalism Award". Mediaite. September 16, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  36. ^ Kaplar, Richard T. "Chris Wallace and Cathy Hughes To Receive Media Institute Awards at Oct. 24 Gala in Washington".
  37. ^ "Fox News anchor Chris Wallace credits his success to 'three giants of broadcasting'". The Washington Post. March 8, 2012.
  38. ^ Deborah Solomon. "The Newsman Makes News". The New York Times. October 8, 2006.
  39. ^ "Weddings/Celebrations; Jennifer Breheny, Peter Wallace". The New York Times. June 27, 2004.
  40. ^ Martha Smilgis. "For Chris Wallace of NBC's Prime Time, His 60 Minutes Rivals Are Dan, Morley, Harry—and Dad". People. July 30, 1979.
  41. ^ "Ex-wife Of Dick Smothers". Chicago Tribune. September 21, 1986.
  42. ^ Erik Meers. "Passages". People. July 21, 1997.
  43. ^ Film Reference: Chris Wallace Biography (1947–). Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  44. ^ Argetsinger, Amy (October 11, 2006). "Chris Wallace, Card-Carrying Democrat?". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2008.

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Marvin Kalb
Meet the Press moderator
Succeeded by
Garrick Utley
Preceded by
Tony Snow
Fox News Sunday anchor
This page was last edited on 12 June 2020, at 21:17
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