Airman 2nd Class (Sep.) Wallace "Wally" Amos served in the Air Force from 1955 to 1959.
Amos, born in Tallahassee, Fla. moved to New York to live with his aunt after his parent’s divorce. His aunt showed her love to Amos and his sister by baking them her special chocolate chip cookies. Those cookies impacted his life more than he could ever imagine.
As a young, uneducated African-American man growing up in the late 40s and early 50s, Amos faced numerous challenges. He decided to drop out of high school to join the Air Force where he eventually earned his GED. Upon his honorable discharge after four years of service he, returned to New York to work in retail and in the mailroom at a New York talent agency.
Amos was successful in both careers and quickly moved through the ranks becoming a manager for Saks Fifth Avenue as well as the first African American talent agent at the William Morris Agency. He left his indelible mark on the company when he signed the now world-renowned singing duo Simon & Garfunkel. Amos took over as the head of the newly formed rock ‘n’ roll department where he worked with the likes of Diana Ross, Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye.
The young entrepreneur didn’t stop there. In 1967 he moved to Los Angeles and opened his own personal management company. The beginnings of the business were rocky and Amos found comfort in baking his favorite childhood cookies. With financial backing from celebrity friends like Marvin Gaye, he opened a freestanding cookie store where he began selling what we now know as Famous Amos gourmet chocolate chip cookies.
He enjoyed more than 20 years of success as “Famous Amos” before selling off the company in 1985. After moving to Hawaii, Amos’ love for cookies continued and started a different cookie company, “Cookie Kahuna.” He is the author of ten books, an inspirational speaker and an advocate for childhood literacy.
At the age of 78, Amos uses the lessons he learned in life and in the Air Force to continue to excel no matter the circumstances and “be positive, anyway.”