After a long battle with an illness, Broadway and Screen actor Lee Wallace has passed away at the age of 90. The actor was known for bearing a striking resemblance to Ed Koch, the charismatic NYC mayor who served from 1978 to 1989. Because of the physical similarities they shared, Wallace was cast as a Mayor in multiple films, including Joseph Sargent’s 1974 crime film, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, where he played a beleaguered NYC Mayor. He also starred in Tim Burton’s 1989 iteration of Batman, where he played the Mayor of Gotham City.
He worked on eight Broadway Productions, including A Teaspoon Every Four Hours in 1969 and the Leonard Nimoy-directed The Apple Doesn’t Fall in 1996. Wallace also appeared on television in the shows Kojak, Lou Grant, Ryan’s Hope, Kate & Allie, Law & Order and others.
Wallace was born Leo Melis in Brooklyn on July 15, 1930, and was raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. After attending NYU, Wallace served briefly in the U.S. Army before eventually studying acting for seven years with New York acting teacher Michael Howard, who passed away November 19, 2019, at the age of 96.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, One Life to Live actress Marilyn Chris, and their son, Paul.