Lee Wallace, actor in ‘The Taking of Pelham One Two Three’ and ‘Batman’, dies at 90

17:11 PST 12/24/2020


Mike Barnes

The Brooklyn native played mayors in both films, amid a long career on stage.

Lee Wallace, Ed Koch’s double who coincidentally or not represented mayor in The taking of Pelham One Two Three and Tim Burton’s bat Man, died on Sunday in New York after a long illness, her family announced. He was 90 years old.

Wallace has also appeared in other notable films, including Klute (1971), The Hot Rock (1972), The Happy Hooker (1975), Thieves (1977), Benjamin private (1980) and People Used (1992).

He was a regular artist at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts beginning in the mid-1960s and appeared alongside Glenn Close in a Yale Repertory production of Uncle vanya in 1981.

Wallace also worked on eight Broadway productions, from One teaspoon every four hours in 1969 through the directed by Leonard Nimoy The apple does not fall in 1996.

Born Leo Melis in Brooklyn on July 15, 1930, he was raised on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He graduated from Seward Park High School and attended NYU, then studied with theater professor Michael Howard for seven years after a stint in the U.S. Army.

Many thought that Wallace had a striking resemblance to the charismatic Koch, who served as mayor of New York City from 1978-89, and Burton chose him as mayor of Gotham City in bat Man (1989).

Four years before Koch was elected, Wallace played a besieged and besieged New York mayor in the big thriller directed by Joseph Sargent The Capture of Pelham One Two Three (1974), starring Walter Matthau.

Wallace also appeared on television in Kojak, Lou Grant, Ryan Hope, Kate and Allie, Law and order and other shows.

Survivors include his 45-year-old wife, A life to live actress Marilyn Chris and her son, Paul.