The name Wally Amos might not ring a bell today, but fact is his legacy undeniably remains. Although he eventually lost ownership and the right to use the catchy name, this black entrepreneur is the face behind the irresistible famous Amos cookie brand we enjoy today.
Born on July 1, 1936, in Tallahassee, Florida, Wally first followed through with a four-year stint in the U.S. Air Force, after which he returned to New York in 1957 and proceeded to work in the stock room at Saks Fifth Avenue, and the mailroom at the prestigious William Morris Agency. In 1962, Amos became the first Black talent agent in the history of the William Morris Agency. In 1967, Amos left William Morris and moved to Los Angeles, but struggled to set up his own personal management company, so he took comfort in baking chocolate chip cookies.
In 1975, he opened the first Famous Amos store, but after a decade of success, mismanagement forced him in 1998 to sell his brand to #Keebler who kept Amos as the spokesperson.
After several attempts to launch his brand again and being sued today, he runs a modest cookie shop in Hawaii as proprietor of Chip & Cookie in Kailua and has taken to muffins. He isn’t only known for baking but has poured into powering literacy and philanthropy.
According to Amos, the Famous Amos cookies sold today by Kellogg Co. are unlike his cookies, which had lots of chocolate, real butter, and pure vanilla extract.
“You can’t compare a machine-made cookie with handmade cookie. It’s like comparing a Rolls Royce with a Volkswagen,” he said.
However, Kellogg spokeswoman Kris Charles said the company has not significantly changed the original recipe since it acquired Famous Amos in 2001, as part of Keebler. However, Famous Amos was previously owned by several other companies, she said.