Actor Wally Campo Passes Away at 99

Chisom Ndianefo
Close-up shot of Wally Campo
Imbd | Wally/ Imbd

Actor Wally Campo passed away on January 14 at the age of 99. He was best known for playing investigator Joe Fink in the 1960 horror comedy The Little Shop of Horrors. This week, his musician son Tony Campodonico informed The Hollywood Reporter of his passing.

Keep reading for the details.

Where His Career Started

A scene from little shop of horror

In the 1960 version of Roger Corman's The Little Shop Of Horrors, which was later transformed into the more well-known musical, Campo played a dual role in one of his best-known roles.

Born In Stockton

Campo was born in Stockton, California, in April 1923 and given the name Wallace Joseph Campodonico. He passed away just three months before turning 100.

Wally Directed Documentaries

A man recording
Unsplash | KAL VISUALS

In addition to directing one movie, Mark of the Gun, Campo also directed documentaries in India, Africa, and the United States (1969).

He Was Also Known As Wallace

According to the local press, Campo was still known as "Wallace Campodonico" when he performed in Eugene O'Neill's Ah, Wilderness! with the Stockton Community Players.

He Met His Wife On Stage

He moved to Los Angeles as the 1950s gained momentum, and he met his wife, Geraldine Matthews, an actress with whom he shared the stage.

On Appearing In Several Other Movies

A theatre
Unsplash | Felix Mooneeram

He appeared in several films directed by Roger Corman, known as the "Pope of Pop Cinema," in the 1950s and 1960s.

Helped Create Movies At The Time

Corman, who was renowned for his ingenuity on a shoestring budget, created an astounding variety of cult films and, in doing so, helped launch the careers of actors like Sylvester Stallone, Jack Nicholson, and Dennis Hopper.

Wally Was Featured In Machine-Gun Kelly

Movie clapper
Unsplash | Jakob Owens

The movie Machine-Gun Kelly, which starred a smoldering Charles Bronson in his first lead appearance, is where Campo first became acquainted with him.

Got Featured In More Movies

After that film, Campo performed for Corman in the 1960 film Ski Troop Attack and the 1962 anthology of Edgar Allan Poe stories Tales Of Terror.

Came Up With His Debut Film

In 1958, the same year he filmed his debut film with Corman, Campo also started working professionally with Burt Topper, another cult director.

Collaborated With Topper On Tank Commando

Tales of Horror
Flickr | KlaatuCarpenter

In the World War II film Hell Squad, directed by Topper, Campo played the lead role of an American serviceman who gets lost in Tunisia and is captured by the Nazi Afrika Korps.

He continued to collaborate with Topper, first on the 1961 film War Is Hell ! on the Korean War and subsequently on Tank Commando, a film about the war in Italy.

He Had Taken Minor Roles Before

However, in the 1964 serial murderer movie The Strangler, starring Victor Buono as the doll-collecting title character, he played a minor role.

Additionally, Campo collaborated with the renowned pulp filmmaker Sam Fuller on the 1963 psychological thriller Shock Corridor, which was set in a mental institution.

Made His 1959 Directorial Debut

Wally Campo
Flickr | Morbius19

Working with cinematographer László Kovács, who also contributed his skills to Easy Rider that year, Campo made his directorial debut in 1969 with Mark Of The Gun.

Wally Survived By His Family

He is survived by his son Tom, his daughter-in-law Cheryl, and his grandkids Laurena and Jade.