Wallace in Washington, D.C., February 23, 2010
|Born||Christopher W. Wallace
October 12, 1947
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Alma mater||Harvard University, 1969|
|Occupation||Host of Fox News Sunday|
|Spouse(s)||Elizabeth Jane Farrell (m. 1973–?; divorced)
Lorraine (Martin) Smothers (m. 1997–present)
|Parent(s)||Mike Wallace (father)
Norma Kaphan (mother)
Bill Leonard (stepfather)
|Website||Biography on Fox News|
Christopher W. Wallace (born October 12, 1947) is an American television anchor and political commentator 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 on NBC, Wallace is the only person to date to have served as host/moderator of more than one of the major Sunday morning political talk shows.
Early life and early careerEdit
Wallace was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of longtime CBS 60 Minutes reporter Mike Wallace and Norma Kaphan. Wallace is Jewish and both his parents were Jewish. His parents divorced when he was one year old. He grew up in a home with his mother and his stepfather, former CBS News President Bill Leonard. He did not develop a relationship with his biological father until the age of 14. Leonard gave him early exposure to political journalism, hiring him as an assistant to Walter Cronkite at the 1964 Republican National Convention.
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.
Although accepted at Yale Law School, Wallace instead took a job with The Boston Globe. 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.
Network and cable television journalistEdit
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.
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."
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.
After another 14 years at ABC, Wallace left in 2003 to join the Fox News Channel. 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.
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."
On September 2, 2016, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced that Chris Wallace would moderate the third presidential debate on Wednesday, 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. After he was selected to moderate one of the 2016 presidential debates, Wallace controversially said, “it’s not my job” to fact-check candidates. Wallace said that was the job of the opposing candidate. But after the debate, 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."
Wallace has stated 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." Wallace first developed a relationship with his father in his teens, after his older brother Peter died in 1962 climbing a mountain in Greece.
Wallace has been married twice:
- In 1973, he married Elizabeth Farrell with whom he has four children: Peter, Megan, Andrew, and Catherine.
- In 1997, he married Lorraine Smothers (née Martin) (b. 1959), the former wife of comedian Dick Smothers. Lorraine has two children from her marriage to Smothers: Sarah Smothers and Remick Smothers.
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 in terms of pragmatism, saying that being a Democrat is the only feasible means of participating in the political process in heavily Democratic Washington, D.C. He maintained that he had voted for candidates from both major parties in the past.
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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.
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