Thomas Lee Wallace (born September 6, 1949) is an American film producer, director, editor, and screenwriter. He is best known for his work in the horror genre, directing films such as Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Fright Night Part 2 and the 1990 miniseries, IT. He is a long-time friend and collaborator of director John Carpenter, receiving his first credit as art director on Carpenter's directorial debut, Dark Star (1974). Along with Charles Bornstein, he edited both the original Halloween and The Fog.
Born Thomas Lee Wallace in Somerset, Kentucky to Robert G. and Kathleen Wallace, he has one older sister, Linda. He grew up in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and attended high school at Western Kentucky University teachers training school (College High).
- BFA in Design from Ohio University-Athens, Ohio'
- MFA program (five semesters) in film production at University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Wallace entered the film business while attending USC film school, starting as an art director and film editor for commercials and industrial films. While in school, he began collaborating with childhood friend and fellow student John Carpenter, working on Carpenter's Dark Star (1974), a low-budget, science-fiction comedy that began as a student film. In 1976, he worked as sound effects editor and art director on Carpenter's second film, Assault on Precinct 13 (1976 ). He continued working with Carpenter, serving as production designer and co-editor of Halloween (1978) and The Fog (1980). In addition to his behind-the-scenes duties for these last two films, Wallace also appeared in front of the camera: intermittently as The Shape (the masked Michael Myers in the closet scene) in Halloween, and in The Fog as several different ghosts; his voice was also featured in both films as TV/radio announcers.
For Halloween II, John Carpenter (who was producing) initially offered directorial responsibilities to Wallace. After careful deliberation, Wallace declined, citing disappointment with the script (the job eventually went to Rick Rosenthal). He did, however, agree to write and direct the third film in the franchise, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which was the first and only one to deviate from the Michael Myers storyline (Wallace's voice was also featured as the announcer and the munchkin singers in the "Silver Shamrock" commercial).
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Wallace continued to write and direct for television and film. Notable work includes writing the screenplay for 1982's Amityville II: The Possession; co-writing and directing 1988's Fright Night Part 2 starring Roddy McDowell; and adapting and directing 1990's made-for-television miniseries, IT, based on the novel by Stephen King.
Wallace's work in television was varied, including directing episodes of the cult TV series Max Headroom; the 1980s revival of The Twilight Zone; and Baywatch. At the height of television film popularity in the 1990s, Wallace directed several notable films, including an adaptation of the Vincent Bugliosi novel, And the Sea Will Tell (1991), The Comrades of Summer (1992), Steel Chariots (1997), and The Spree (1998).
In 1986, he performed the title song of Carpenter's film Big Trouble in Little China as part of the band The Coup de Villes, alongside Carpenter and another friend, Nick Castle.