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"The face that launched a thousand chips," Wally Amos is the father of the gourmet cookie industry. As inventor of "Famous Amos" cookies, his story is the quintessential American success story.
The "Famous Amos" cookie tale began when the talent agent began using Mr. Amos' bite-sized cookies as calling cards. At the urging of his friends and clients, he launched the Famous Amos Cookie Company in 1975 with a Sunset Boulevard storefront in Hollywood. The business grew and in 1985 Famous Amos cookies was a $10 million business. Great products are not built on great taste alone, and Famous Amos' success is as much due to his infectious enthusiasm and tireless promoting as it is to the cookies' delicious taste.
While he left the brand after it changed hands several times between 1985 and 1998, Wally Amos never lost his entrepreneurial zeal or passion for baking and promoting. His most recent venture is a Long Island-based Uncle Wally's Company, which produces a full line of muffins.
Before his cookie foray, Mr. Amos spent a stint in the Air Force (where he earned his GED), and at Sak's in New York. He then joined the William Morris Talent Agency and worked his way up to become the firm's first black agent. While at William Morris, he represented The Supremes and Marvin Gaye, and he is credited for signing a then-unknown duo named Simon & Garfunkel.
Wally Amos has appeared on hundreds of television and radio shows, appeared in various network sitcoms and acted as spokesman for Hush Puppies, United Airlines, and the California Egg Board. He is host and teacher of 50 adult basic learning programs on PBS, and has authored five books, his most recent being The Cookie Never Crumbles, Inspirational Recipes for Everyday Living.
In addition to his business, Wally Amos devotes a great deal of time and passion for literacy causes, serving as national spokesman for the Literacy Volunteers of America and acting as a board member for the National Center for Family Literacy and Communities in Schools. He and his wife reside in Hawaii.
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