â€œThe face that launched a thousand chips,â€ Wally Amos is the father of the gourmet cookie industry. As inventor of â€œFamous Amosâ€ cookies, his story is the quintessential American success story.
The â€œFamous Amosâ€ cookie tale began when the talent agent began using his 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 were a $10 million business. Great products are not built on great taste alone, and Famous Amos’ success is as much due to Wally’s 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, he never lost his entrepreneurial zeal or passion for baking and promoting. Wally Amos’s most recent ventures now are a Long Island-based Uncle Wally’s Company, which specialized in a full line of muffins, and the Orlando-based Aunt Della’s Cookies, named for the woman who taught him, as a youngster, the art and love of making cookies.
Before his cookie foray, Wally 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, Wally represented The Supremes and Marvin Gaye, and he is credited for signing a then-unknown duo named Simon & Garfunkel.
Wally 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 four books, his most recent being “The Cookie Never Curmbles, 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.
Wally Amos, 67, has been married for 27 years to his wife, Christine. They reside in Hawaii