Famous Amos: The Rise and Fall of a Cookie Empire


When Wally Amos founded Famous Amos cookies in 1975, the brand became one of the most unlikely success stories in food history. And the rise and fall of Wally Amos became one of its most infamous cautionary tales. Here’s how a man who broke the color barrier in the talent industry and launched a cookie empire helped change American tastes.

Who Is Famous Amos?

Wally Amos, Jr. was born in Florida in 1936. He moved to New York City’s Harlem at age 12 to live with his Aunt Della. Amos dropped out of high school, but earned his G.E.D. while serving in the Air Force. In 1957, he returned to New York and joined the William Morris Agency, where he worked his way up from the mailroom to become the first black talent agent in the industry. Amos headed the rock ’n’ roll department, where he signed Simon and Garfunkel and worked with Motown megastars The Supremes, Diana Ross, Sam Cooke and Dionne Warwick.


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