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            George Wallace


            George Wallace was born in New York and, at age 13, moved with his mom and her new husband to McMechen, West Virginia, a coal mining town where the boy began working in the mines. He joined the Navy in 1936, got out in 1940, and then went right back in again when World War II started. A chief boatswain's mate, he ended up in Los Angeles after a total of eight years in the service. Wallace supported himself with an array of odd jobs, from working for a meat packer ("knockin' steers in the head") to lumber-jacking in the High Sierras. A stint as a singing bartender attracted the attention of Hollywood columnist Jimmy Fidler, who helped him get his show-biz start. Wallace enrolled in drama school in the late 1940s, while earning his living tending the greens at MGM. He soon began landing jobs in films and TV, most notably as Commando Cody in the Republic serial Radar Men from the Moon (1952). He later made his Broadway debut in Richard Rodgers' "Pipe Dreams," replaced John Raitt in "The Pajama Game" and was nominated for a Tony for his leading role in "New Girl in Town" with Gwen Verdon. Other stage roles have included "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" opposite Ginger Rogers, "Jennie" with Mary Martin, "Most Happy Fella" (during production, he met his present wife, actress Jane A. Johnston), "Camelot" (as King Arthur), "Man of La Mancha," "Company," and more. In 1960, his career was stalled when a horse fell on him and broke his back during the making of an episode of TV's "Disneyland" (1954)'s "Swamp Fox." His painful recovery took seven months. He sometimes billed himself George D. H. Wallace, to avoid confusion with comic George Wallace.